World Rugby back referee after England vs Italy fallout

But no immediate changes are expected

BY Raf Diallo 15:07 Tuesday 28 February 2017, 15:07 28 Feb 2017

England's Jamie George with George Biagi and Sergio Parisse of Italy ©INPHO/Andrew Fosker

World Rugby say they will review the sport's laws following England's controversial Six Nations match with Italy.

The visitors refused to contest a series of rucks at Twickenham, allowing them to stand in offside positions after tackles.

England head coach Eddie Jones has called for the loophole to be addressed, but World Rugby says no immediate changes will be made.

They defended match referee Romain Poite, with a spokesman telling AFP: "The match official team officiated law correctly. There is a formal process for unions to request law clarifications, if they wish to do so."

Jones had not hidden his contempt for Italy's gameplan which threw his own team off-kilter during the first half of Sunday's 36-15 win, describing it as "not rugby" and saying the referee had a "terrible day".

"It's not a good advertisement for the game. It's got no structure, it's got no form and it has no meaning," he said, even adding that "if that's rugby, then I'm going to retire".

Italy head coach Conor O'Shea however batted away the criticism from pundits and emphasised that his team had played within the laws of the game.

Speaking to Newstalk on Monday night, the Irishman reiterated that point: "We didn't do anything that's not the law. That's the bit that baffles me with all of this. We sat down with the referee on Friday and we'd practiced it all week. We talked about it because it was different, not just to do it once or twice but all the time. We asked the players to stick to that.

"If you actually look at the way the players played, we didn't go and roll over. We didn't try and not play with ball in hand.

"If we go into this match doing what we've always done, we're going to get badly beaten. Let's give the players hope that we're going with a gameplan and say we're going to have a go and have a crack off scrums."


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