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World Rugby admitted referee got three penalties wrong in Ireland's shock defeat to Japan at Rugby World Cup - Joe Schmidt

Ireland's head coach Joe Schmidt
Ireland's head coach Joe Schmidt

By Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ireland have received confirmation from World Rugby that referee Angus Gardner got three key penalty decisions wrong in their shock defeat to Japan last Saturday according to Joe Schmidt.

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The head coach, who was keen to reiterate his praise for the hosts after naming his team for Thursday's clash with Russia, voiced his concern about the Australian official in the build-up to last weekend's game and, as is the norm, submitted a detailed dossier on the refereeing in the aftermath.

Ireland were particularly frustrated by Japan coming in from the side at the breakdown and cleaning deep to set the defensive line back further.

But the coach said the defeat was his team's own responsibility as they let a commanding first quarter position slip in Shizuoka.

"I think I mentioned earlier that we certainly learned that we're capable. In that first 20 minutes, to go 12-3 up, we demonstrated that," he said.

"We did put ourselves on the back foot and partly went onto the back foot.

"We were penalised for offside four times and we've now got the feedback that three of those were incorrect calls. People were asking us about our discipline.

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"It's pretty hard to keep getting off the line and onto the front foot when you are getting those calls. Two of them were from an Assistant Referee (Jerome Garces) who is going to be refereeing us on Thursday, so we know we're going to have to be on our best behaviour.

"One thing I would say about this team is that they try to go out and deliver and, generally speaking, it's unusual for us to have a higher penalty count than our opponents.

"So it's frustrating that in the first two games…. I thought Wayne [Barnes] did a super job (in Ireland v Scotland).

"I know that, to a degree, Scotland were happy with how Wayne went in the first game as well. That's our fault if we were on the wrong side of the penalty count there but I do think we've got to try to look after that as best we can.

"We've got to make sure that we don't become passive in a game to an opposition that are playing in front of their home crowd. You'd have to be really impressed with the way that they got themselves back into the game.

"If it wasn't us that lost the game, I'd say, 'Wow, that's fantastic for the tournament.' Everywhere we've gone, the Japanese people have been incredibly excited about the game.

"They're delighted with us, obviously, and I think loads of interest has been spiked by that."

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