Rugby-Henry apologises after critique of 'blind' officials

WELLINGTON Mon May 27, 2013 11:53pm BST

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WELLINGTON May 28 (Reuters) - World Cup winning coach Graham Henry has apologised after being censured by Super Rugby bosses for calling match officials "blind".

The 66-year-old former All Blacks coach, who is an assistant to John Kirwan at the Auckland Blues, had criticised the performance of the assistant referees during the Blues' 23-3 loss to the Canterbury Crusaders on May 18.

"It was obvious to me, I don't know, he was probably a blind TMO was he? It's an obvious try," Henry said in a reference to a disallowed try by winger Frank Halai. "I could see it and I'm blind."

Henry pleaded guilty at a misconduct hearing at the weekend and was reprimanded and ordered to publicly apologise.

"I accept that my comments to the media last week went beyond that which SANZAR deem acceptable under the code of conduct," Henry said in a statement released by the Blues on Tuesday.

"Accordingly, I want to apologise to SANZAR and to the match officials involved for my comments, and for any offence they may have felt, as this was certainly not my intention.

"My intention was to try to respond to media questions in relation to matters I thought were important, in an honest but humorous style.

"I clearly failed to achieve that and in some respects, I accept my comments went too far in criticising the match officials."

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by John Mehaffey)

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