TOKYO – World Rugby issued a statement on Tuesday conceding that the officiating over the first weekend of the World Cup was not up to scratch and promising it would improve.
Referees became a dominant talking point on the second day of the tournament when all three matches featured officiating that drew heavy criticism from coaches, players and pundits.
The most controversial incident was a high hit by Reece Hodge on Fiji's Peceli Yato in Sapporo, which was cleared by the match officials on the day but later resulted in a dangerous tackle charge being levelled against the Australia winger.
Argentina coach Mario Ledesma also lambasted the referee for ignoring what he saw as blatant infringements as his side chased a game against France which they ultimately lost, while many South Africans pundits were unhappy at the officiating in their loss to New Zealand.
"Following the usual review of matches, the match officials team recognise that performances over the opening weekend of Rugby World Cup 2019 were not consistently of the standards set by World Rugby and themselves," the statement read.