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Italy 6-20 New Zealand, Milan, November 14
IRB apologises to ABs over ref
PA Sport
November 18, 2009
New Zealand and Italy pack down at the San Siro, Italy v New Zealand, San Siro Stadium, Milan, Italy, November 14, 2009
Referee Stuart Dickinson missed Italy's indiscretions at the scrum © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Wyatt Crockett
Tournaments/Tours: New Zealand tour
Teams: Italy | New Zealand

International Rugby Board referees' boss Paddy O'Brien has apologised to the New Zealand team for Stuart Dickinson's errors at the scrum against Italy and has warned the Australian official he needs to improve his game.

O'Brien said Dickinson got it "completely wrong" when he repeatedly penalised the New Zealanders at the scrum during Saturday's Test in Milan which the All Blacks won 20-6.

Italy coach Nick Mallett believed his side should have been awarded a penalty try late in the game after camping on the All Blacks' line.

But O'Brien said that was not the case and that a review of all the match footage showed the Italian tighthead props had been boring in on the New Zealand loosehead side - a point young prop Wyatt Crockett made repeatedly to Dickinson until he was subbed in the 60th minute.

"The best example I can use is in the last 10 minutes there were eight scrums, of which seven, the tighthead for Italy is purely illegal," O'Brien told Fairfax Media in New Zealand. "Up here they're crying that it should have been a penalty try. It should have been a penalty first scrum to the All Blacks."

O'Brien, a New Zealander, said Dickinson had been given a DVD of the match to study and had been advised to undertake scrum coaching. The Australian was also left in no doubt he needed to lift his game or it could affect his future appointments.

"We've got to be fair to teams. If the referee is not accurate we've got to put our hand up. We need to educate that referee and get him better because that scrummaging on Saturday was not up to international standard.

"You've got a young guy (Crockett) trying to launch his Test career and get things right and the referee is inaccurate. Then it's our problem. We've got to deal with the ref, which we will, just like Graham (Henry, New Zealand coach) deals with a player who is not playing well."

© PA Sport
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