Super Rugby Aotearoa: Referees boss Bryce Lawrence confirms mistakes in Ioane, Weber calls

NZ Rugby referees boss Bryce Lawrence has confirmed two high-profile mistakes were made in last weekend's Super Rugby Aotearoa matches.

Television match official Paul Williams was partly responsible for both gaffs that plagued matches between the Crusaders and Chiefs, and Blues and Highlanders respectively. 

Chiefs halfback Brad Weber conceded a penalty try and was shown a yellow card, after forcing a knock-on by Crusaders first-five Richie Mo'unga, while Blues centre Rieko Ioane had a try disallowed due to a forward-pass ruling.

But after an internal review of the weekend's decisions, Lawrence revealed the wrong decisions were made by both the on-field referees and TMO Williams, who presided over both fixtures.

"By our own standards, we were a bit disappointed with some of our work," Lawrence says. "There were a couple of calls we didn't get right.

"I suppose everyone's interested around the forward pass and non-try to Rieko. On review, we believe that decision was incorrect and that the pass was legal, because it went back out of the hands.

"Although it travelled forward some distance, that's not what the referee and TMO should have been looking at, and they were distracted by that. That try should have stood.

"The other incident was at Orangetheory Stadium, where Brad Weber was yellow-carded and a penalty try awarded. 

"Based on that captain's referral, it should have been a successful referral, because in our review, we saw that the ball got knocked out of Richie Mo'unga's hand, but by Brad Weber hitting Riche's hand, not the ball.

"That was another error that we made."

Despite the mistakes, Lawrence is confident this week will see an improvement from referees, during the Hurricanes-Chiefs and Blues-Crusaders fixtures.

"Our accountability is exactly the same as players',” he says. “We don't drop people on one poor performance or on one bad mistake.

"We look at all the good things they do and then we try to get better each week.

"We've got a group of world-class match officials. I totally support them and I'm sure they're going to bounce back. 

"They're experienced, they've been proven to be really successful at test level. They're doing some great things in Super Rugby, they just need to be better this weekend."

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