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Dublin: 15 °C Wednesday 21 August, 2019

Schmidt refuses to criticise referee Peyper after Ireland's defeat to All Blacks

‘We’ll feed our feedback through the appropriate channels,’ said the Ireland head coach.

JOE SCHMIDT REFUSED to criticise referee Jaco Peyper and television match official Jon Mason after Ireland’s 21-9 defeat to New Zealand in Dublin.

There were a number of contentious decisions in a fierce contest at the Aviva Stadium, with Ireland’s players particularly angered at the 11th-minute tackle by Sam Cane that forced Robbie Henshaw off with a head injury.

Rory Best talks to referee Jaco Peyper Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Captain Rory Best and his players also expressed grievances with two of the New Zealand tries, believing that Johnny Sexton had prevented Beauden Barrett from touching down for the All Blacks’ second and also questioning whether TJ Perenara’s pass to Malakai Fekitoa was forward for their third try.

However, asked about Peyper’s refereeing performance post-match, Schmidt bit his tongue.

“We’ll feed our feedback through the appropriate channels,” said Schmidt. “They’ll send out edicts and will try and keep the game safe and make it enjoyable.”

Did you feel Sexton managed to hold up Barrett?

Look, it’s not for me to say,” replied Schmidt. “I think it was the first question that was asked, so it’s ‘try; yes or no?’ Therefore, there has to be a clear grounding and if it’s deemed it was a clear grounding then they make that decision.”

Should the TMO have looked at other angles in more depth?

“Again, he’ll probably assess himself and others will probably assess him, but it won’t be us. We’ll have a look at the Wallabies tonight, they just kicked off against the French and we’ll try to assess them, assess what we did, and try to build on what we can control.”

Similarly, Ireland captain Best refused to criticise Peyper and his team of match officials after an attritional game in Dublin.

Joe Schmidt at the press conference  19/11//2016 Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The Ulsterman was understandably frustrated with a number of the decisions during the game, but didn’t bring his annoyance into the press conference.

“Look, I think just like Joe said, we’re obviously looking to control what we can control,” said Best. “I think there were a few times where there was good communication, just other other times maybe not so much.

“Ultimately, from our side of things, we have to make sure that we control those. For example, putting that ball down a couple of metres short on that lineout move.

That has got nothing to do with the referee. Missing a few clean outs at a few vital times. That’s all stuff that we can control, that we can make it easier for the referee because we just keep the ball there.”

Asked specifically about the high tackles from New Zealand, Best did hint at his frustration.

“Look, they’re a very physical side,” said Best. “We know whenever you sign Kiwis into your club side, they hit and they hit hard.

“Obviously there were a few. The first one on Robbie. They deemed that to be head on head and not shoulder on head. You have to try roll with those decisions.

Jaco Peyper shoes Aaron Smith a yellow card The All Blacks had two men sin binned. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“I’m a parent myself and you don’t like to see people going off on stretchers. That’s something they’re [World Rugby] clamping down on and hopefully they’ll continue to do that.”

Best could be heard over the ref mic just after Fekitoa’s second try, New Zealand’s third, appealing for Peyper to check the final pass with his TMO.

The Ireland captain even then walked out from under his posts as Barrett lined up his conversion, with Best insisting “there’s too much at stake” for Peyper not to check it again.

Look, we just went up to him and said to take a look at it,” said Best post-match. “He said he can’t go [to TMO] on a captain’s call, which I suppose is fair enough.

“But it was on the big screen. He said he has a team to look at that and that he can’t be influenced too much by the captain. I tried to explain that there was a lot at stake to not take a look.

“He has people upstairs in front of the TV that are watching that and he has to trust them. We’ll leave that to the assessors. When you have a big game like that and it was a one-score game at that time, we need to feel that we have a chance to get a call on that.”

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Murray Kinsella

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