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Chiefs star Brad Weber vents frustration at ‘laughable’ refereeing calls in wake

Chiefs star Brad Weber has labelled some of the refereeing decisions that have cost his side Super Rugby Aotearoa victories in recent weeks as “laughable”.

It comes after his side were subjected to their sixth loss in as many games on Sunday after a controversial refereeing decision late in their 21-17 defeat to the Blues at Eden Park denied them their first win of the campaign.

The frustration among Chiefs players was clear to see when No. 8 Pita Gus Sowakula looked to have scored under a pile of bodies in the dying minutes of the clash, but was denied by referee Brendon Pickerill, who instead handed a penalty to the Blues.

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The New Zealand Herald reported skipper Sam Cane, first-five Aaron Cruden and midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown all surrounded Pickerill after the as they took issue to the game-changing call.

Cruden could be seen questioning Pickerill’s decision when the call was made, while Lienert-Brown didn’t hide his emotions post-match as he was adamant Sowakula had scored what would have been the match-winning try.

“In big moments, we’ve got the TMO for a reason,” Lienert-Brown told Newstalk ZB immediately after the encounter.

“We’ve been on the wrong side of a lot of calls this whole year and when it counted, when we needed it, why not go upstairs? I was a little bit frustrated. In a massive moment I think we’ve got to use the TMO.”

The recent behaviour of Super Rugby Aotearoa stars sparked comments from New Zealand Rugby’s referees boss Bryce Lawrence, who called into question the “hostile” nature in which players are reacting to refereeing decisions.

“I definitely have an issue when other players who aren’t the captain come running in and asking the referee to do things and telling the referee how to referee the game,” Lawrence told Stuff.

“And demanding the referee do things. And I personally don’t like the way some players are challenging the referees in quite a hostile body language and verbally.”

“That’s something we will review at the end of this competition because I know there’s a wide range of rugby people that aren’t that thrilled with the way some of that behaviour is going at the moment,” he added.

Lawrence said he had consulted with Pickerill about Sowakula’s denied try, with Pickerill determining that the loose forward was short of the line and that the Blues deserved a penalty as he didn’t release the ball.

He was therefore satisfied that he didn’t need to consult with the TMO.

Speaking to RugbyPass, Weber shared Lienert-Brown’s exasperation at a string of calls that have gone against the winless Chiefs in recent weeks.

“To be honest, it’s kind of getting a little bit laughable at times,” he told the Aotearoa Rugby Pod.


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