Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill has again slammed refereeing standards in the Guinness PRO14 after making an official complaint about the same ref for the second time in a month.
Cockerill felt Ben Whitehouse was “inaccurate” and missed potential red and yellow cards in the capital club’s 18-16 defeat to Benetton in Italy at the weekend, having made official complaints about the Welsh whistler after the game against Leinster in October.
“I’ve been in contact again with (chief refereeing assessor) Greg Garner from PRO14,” said Cockerill. “It was a really poor performance from the official, there was some really poor errors from him, the same as when he refereed us against Leinster. There was some really poor decisions.
“His performance wasn’t good enough. So, there is some responsibility lies with the officials but we’ll deal with that.
“It was a game we put ourselves in a position to win. We made some poor errors at times and there was another yellow card which wasn’t good enough.
“We’ve been having discussions with them. But we’ve been in this process basically for three years now and we’re still having the same issues.
“It’s not good for the credibility of the competition. We’ve been saying the same thing for three years and it’s not good enough, simple as that.”
Cockerill felt there was a no-arms clearout at a ruck on Pierre Schoeman which should have been a yellow, and also an incident when a Benetton player led with a forearm to the face of an Edinburgh player.
“Their player ran in from 15 metres and hit our player,” he said of the first incident. “It was a dangerous, no-arms clean-out.
“We’ve all seen the World Cup and we’ve all been sent the mandates by Greg Garner about how that area of the game will be refereed.
“That was a straight yellow card, but it wasn’t given. But later our player hits a man off the ball and it’s given as a straight yellow card.
“The elbow incident, the TMO doesn’t see it, but I see it live and Greg Garner sees it live. If you review it, then it’s a straight red card.
“There are inconsistencies within each individual game, let alone from one game to the next. I was unhappy with the referee’s performance, I’ve put that forward, and we’ll continue to work with the Pro14.
“As and when Nigel Owens retires, there won’t be one international referee in the Pro14. We’ve got to get better, haven’t we?”
Cockerill felt that Edinburgh could have won, but doing so would not have masked the deficiencies in the performance.
“We had a couple of opportunities to kick penalties at the end to win the game, but that’s life – Jaco (van der Walt) was golden boot last year, so he’s won us far more games than he’s lost us.
“If we had kicked one of those goals and won, would it have solved all those problems we have? No. So, we’ll take a point and we have to have a long hard look at ourselves which we’ve done this week.”
Cockerill does have Grant Gilchrist, Ben Toolis, John Barclay, Jamie Ritchie and Simon Berghan home from the Rugby World Cup and available to play this week against Dragons at BT Murrayfield on Friday.
“In terms of things we can control, the first part of our defensive performance last weekend just wasn’t acceptable – we were too soft.
“The conditions were wet, we knew Treviso would run at us hard – and we just didn’t meet that physical battle well enough in the first 20 minutes.
We want a good win on Friday night because five points would take us on to 20 points. We would be starting to get ourselves into the (play-off) mix, if not cemented in the mix.
“We’re never as bad as we think – but we also certainly weren’t as good as we thought from the Scarlets game the previous week. We have to adapt in terms of conditions.
“These (games) aren’t the shiny bits. You have to get through the tough games and the crap games if you want to get to the shiny bits with quarter-finals and semi-finals at the end of the season.”