“We’re seeing far too much of referees and not enough of our great athletes.”
Matt Williams has slammed English referees, claiming they don’t have a “great feel for the game” after Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup final.
Williams was speaking after a number of contentious decisions during La Rochelle’s 22-17 defeat to French rivals Toulouse.
Matt Williams on English referees.
The Australian was asked on Virgin Media about how the officiating team performed during the final and he didn’t hold back on his comments, criticising them for getting involved far too much during the game.
“Jeez, don’t ask me that. English referees in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals have been very, very poor. Over-officious,” Williams told presenter Joe Molloy.
“I’ll give you an example. In the 68th minute, when Alldritt [La Rochelle] was penalised for being off his feet at a ruck.
“They could have pulled that penalty 65 times in that game but they pulled it out once.
"The English referees in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final have been very very poor."
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) May 22, 2021
“It’s the inconsistency of that. The refereeing of the scrums, we just saw so much of the English referees and so much of them talking to the TMOs. They really got out of control.
“I thought Luke Pearce [final referee] lost control of the first half. It was so mad and he found it difficult to keep up with but it did get better in the second half once the players actually played a bit of rugby and started getting tired.
“But our officiating at the top-level is having such an impact on the game and slowing the game.”
Matt Williams on rugby refereeing at the top level.
The former Leinster, Ulster and Scottish coach lamented the overall standard of refereeing across the world, again making reference to English referees.
“We’re seeing far too much of referees and not enough of our great athletes and that has to change,” Williams continued.
“World rugby has to act on this, it’s not just here it’s all around the world. We saw it up close in the quarters, semis and final.
“I think in particular, the English referees are way over-officious and they don’t have a great feel for the game.
“That’s why we got that sort of game today.”