Queensland Reds coach Richard Graham has backed SANZAR despite controversial whistleblower Stuart Berry not being dropped from refs panel.
Emotions may still be “raw” but Queensland Reds coach Richard Graham says he has faith in SANZAR referees boss Lyndon Bray despite not dropping controversial whistleblower Stuart Berry.
Graham said he was “confident with the process” but still had to choose his words carefully on Tuesday when asked about South African Berry’s performance in their 23-20 loss to the Lions in Johannesburg where the Reds’ 20-3 lead evaporated under a 17-4 penalty count.
To add further insult, flanker Liam Gill (hamstring, four weeks) and fullback Aidan Toua (pectoral strain, to be advised) were injured in the clash joining flyer Chris Feauai-Sautia (hamstring, three weeks) and Ben Daley (knee, six weeks) on the sidelines.
South African whistleblower Lourens van der Merwe, Argentine Francisco Pastrana and Australian James Leckie were all culled from the 18-man SANZAR referees panel on Monday for sub-par last round displays.
But Berry remained on the panel, albeit to run the line in South Africa for the next two weeks.
Asked if Berry should be refereeing Super Rugby games, Graham said: “That is a decision for Lyndon Bray and SANZAR as they go through their review process.
“I saw a release yesterday where a number of referees have been stood down or removed from the SANZAR panel.
“I think that is the same as a rugby team – each team will change based on individual performance.
“But I am confident with the process.”
Graham had no regrets about his post-match outcry over the lop-sided penalty count, something he claimed he had “never seen in a game before in my life”.
“Your emotions are very raw post game and they are still raw now,” he said.
“I made my frustrations very clear to the press afterwards.
“I have a responsibility to the Reds and make sure we get the best outcome.
“And I think I have a responsibility to help the game develop.
“Part of that process is going back to Lyndon Bray and giving my honest feedback on the performance.”
Still, Graham held the Reds responsible for the loss that relegated them to a 2-3 win-loss record ahead of Saturday night’s clash with the Stormers – the start of three straight home games.
“The result was in our hands – we should have gone on and won it,” he said.
“We have certainly developed as a team but ultimately you are judged on wins and losses.
“(But) I don’t think there’s desperation. The season is still relatively young.”