Eddie Jones cops $10,000 fine - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eddie Jones cops $10,000 fine

By Jim Morton 22/02/2007 09:02:17 PM Comments (0)

A furious Eddie Jones says he'll slap on a self-imposed media ban after being fined $10,000 for his sensational attack on a Super 14 referee.

Jones will pay the fine himself after pleading guilty to the post-match criticism and copping the expensive penalty from SANZAR judicial officer Terry Willis.

But Jones Thursday night refused to apologise to referee Matt Goddard, which was part of the order brought down by Willis after a two-hour hearing.

The Queensland coach - who asked reporters post-match how much the fine would be before labelling Goddard's performance in the Brumbies' 6-3 win as "disgraceful", "ludicrous" and "lacking common sense" - also refused to discuss his punishment.

"I can't afford to mate," he told AAP from Auckland.

"You're not allowed comment on anything in the game mate so I'm not about to comment because if you criticise anyone you might get in trouble.

"What it does is that it shows that if you're passionate about the game, which I believe I am, and you want the game to get better you run the risk of being fined.

"We've basically killed any comment about the game. Refereeing is an integral part of the game.

"I didn't make any comment attributed to the referee himself, I was commenting about the standard of refereeing and commenting about the game therefore I won't comment ... anymore."

Jones said he was unaware he had to personally apologise to Goddard, but argued he wasn't required to as he criticised his handling of the second-half scrums, not the man himself.

A written apology to Goddard was part of the "agreement" listed in SANZAR's post-hearing statement.

"After considering Eddie Jones' long service to the game, his plea of guilty, his undertaking to comply with the SANZAR Code of Conduct and his agreement to provide a written apology to Matt Goddard, he was fined $10,000," the statement read.

The fine is to be paid to the Spinal Injuries Association of Queensland.

Jones was also incensed at reports SANZAR was considering banning him from coaching if he argued he wasn't bound by its governance because he was employed by the Reds as a contracted consultant.

"That is a good indication of how the process is run. Journalists told off the record about what is going to happen," he said.

"In all reality if I'm going to get barred from coaching in the Super 14 for making one comment about a referee does that sound fair and just?"

SANZAR kept up the suspense for almost three hours after the hearing, with the announcement postponed until Jones had landed in Auckland.

He didn't attend the hearing but spent the day in Sydney speaking to potential recruits, including the manager of NSW and Cowboys rugby league back-rower Luke O'Donnell.

Jones' highly-critical stance drew support from former All Blacks adversary John Mitchell who has become a brother in arms as Western Force coach.

While acknowledging SANZAR's post-match assessment process, the former New Zealand coach demanded more feedback and accountability from referees.

"I guess all us coaches at some stage would like to do what (Jones) did," Mitchell said in Perth.

"He has shown the nuts to do that, and good on him."

Former Wallabies skipper John Eales said Jones should have bitten his tongue but added the ARU needed to ensure he plied his trade in Australia.

"I think he's done a wonderful job with the Reds and you can actually see the improvement in some aspects of the game and improvement in confidence as well," Eales said.

"I think Australian rugby needs coaches like Eddie Jones."

Eales said it was concerning that Jones may leave the country to help assist a major rival, possibly potential quarter-final opponents South Africa or England, at the World Cup.

"Any team that Eddie is coaching is potentially a better team because of his involvement, so it is a concern," he said.

Queensland Rugby Union boss Ken Freer released a statement late Thursday.

"There has to be a better and clearer process than this," Freer said.

"And unfortunately, the way this has played out has given the rugby public the clear impression that the authorities are far more concerned with what Eddie said, than with why he might have said it."

"In my discussions with Eddie it was apparent that he has become frustrated with what he believes is a failure to apply the same scrutiny to referee performances as is applied to players and coaches, and felt he owed it to his players to speak out.

"That said, we trust that Eddie will exercise more discretion in future and that such a situation will not arise again."

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