Hayne to ref England-NZ RLWC semi-final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hayne to ref England-NZ RLWC semi-final

By Laine Clark 12/11/2008 06:39:35 PM Comments (0)

England coach Tony Smith's worst fear has been realised - an NRL referee has been handed the whistle for their Rugby League World Cup semi-final against New Zealand at Brisbane on Saturday night.

Shayne Hayne will handle the crucial clash after English whistleblower Ashley Klein was allocated to Australia's semi against surprise packets Fiji at Sydney on Sunday.

Smith had pleaded for a northern hemisphere official for their must-win game after complaining about Australian referees' handling of their three pool matches.

The Australian-born English coach was especially livid over leading NRL referee Tony Archer's handling of their 36-24 pool loss to the Kiwis in Newcastle on the weekend.

He took issue with three NZ tries Archer awarded plus a controversial penalty which saw the Kiwis grab a 26-24 lead with 10 minutes left.

NZ interchange player Isaac Luke, who kicked the penalty goal, was virtually accused of cheating by English players for taking a "dive" after coming into contact with Kevin Sinfield.

Smith was so angry he spoke with Mick Stone, the chairman of the World Cup appointments board who decided the semi-final referees.

But Smith seemed resigned to his fate when he spoke with the English press following the talk with Stone.

"There's a fair chance that we'll have an Australian ref right through the competition - and we'll cop that," Smith told reporters.

"I'm not sure if that would be accepted on the other side of the world.

"If we were running the tournament, there would be feet stomping up and down.

"But we'll get on with it. What gets thrown at us in this country is slightly different to what we're subjected to in our own.

"Some of that is down to the different speed of play-the-balls.

"We'll make those adjustments and come out the other side. It makes it even more sweeter."

Smith said he was simply following NZ coach Stephen Kearney's lead by meeting with Stone.

"I think it's been put out in the Australian press about whingeing Poms but yesterday it was the media who told me that New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney was going to Mick Stone," he said.

"I was just doing the same thing but I haven't seen a whingeing Kiwis headline yet. It was a bit predictable."

Hayne officiated England's unconvincing opening win over PNG at Townsville.

England's Steve Ganson is on standby for the Brisbane semi-final.

Archer is the standby referee for the Australia-Fiji clash.

Kearney refused to buy into the referee issue.

"I am always a believer that the best man should get the job regardless of where he is from," he said.

"I have spoken to Mick. It was just on the clarification of the ruck, just getting a clear indication if the precedent was set on Saturday night.

"We will now train accordingly."

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