Walsh swapped, not demoted: ref's boss - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Walsh swapped, not demoted: ref's boss

By Jim Morton 28/04/2010 02:41:35 PM Comments (0)

Whistle-blower Steve Walsh has been taken off Saturday night's crucial Super 14 clash in Canberra due to his "untenable" position, following a scathing attack by the Brumbies.

Walsh has been replaced by New Zealander Chris Pollock for the Brumbies clash with Queensland but SANZAR referees boss Lyndon Bray insisted he had not been dropped due to his performance in the Brumbies' 19-12 loss to NSW.

Bray said Sydney-based Walsh had been swapped with Pollock, who in turn gives up control of the Waratahs match against the Chiefs on Saturday week in Hamilton.

Nevertheless, the news will be well received by the Brumbies who called for Walsh's sacking for what they claimed was a one-sided display at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

The ACT franchise was most upset by the referee's handling of the scrums, his running battle with Brumbies captain Stephen Hoiles and a costly disallowed try to winger Adam Ashley-Cooper.

"What we've done is not demote Steve from the game, we've taken Steve off it," Bray told AAP from New Zealand.

"We agree it's not one of Steve greatest game's, likewise neither would either team consider they were particularly good on the night either so there's some real responsibility that needs to be put to some of the players on that process, particularly the scrum.

"Putting the performance aside we have a real issue now in terms of getting to a point where it was quite untenable to leave Steve with the Brumbies this week.

"The hype around the comments really made it really untenable to leave Steve in that environment - it's certainly not in the interest of the Brumbies and the Reds."

Wallabies playmaker Matt Giteau faces a possible fine and/or suspension for Monday's comments, when he said it would be pointless for the sixth-placed Brumbies to turn up at Canberra Stadium if Walsh was in charge.

"We want to ensure this game, which is critical to both teams, is about them and not about the referee," Bray continued.

He said Walsh was philosophical about the decision and supported the approach but was aware he needed to improve areas of his game.

"We've talked to Steve from a management perspective and there are a couple of issues he has to work through," he said.

"It was unfortunate he and Stephen Hoiles couldn't get it together in that match and in any working relationship there is two sides to that coin."

Pollock flies to Canberra after originally being assigned as an assistant referee to the Hurricanes-Chiefs match in Wellington on Saturday, while Walsh has not been reassigned to another match this weekend.

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