Northampton boss Chris Boyd faces disciplinary hearing for saying referee ‘didn’t have enough nuts’

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Chris Boyd, the Northampton Saints director of rugby, will face a virtual disciplinary hearing on Thursday after suggesting referee Adam Leal “didn’t have enough nuts” to penalise Saracens during a key moment in Northampton’s recent 6-30 defeat.

Boyd was referring to a spell of Northampton pressure when Saints opted for multiple scrums near to Saracens’ posts, only for Leal to then penalise Northampton’s pack, allowing Saracens to escape.

“He didn’t have enough nuts did he? I mean it was a clear hinge. There was only one side under pressure in that series of scrums,” Boyd said.

“But anyway. I certainly think we took the right option. We could have taken three points there but we spent a long time down there. For us to come away with three points would have been a victory for them.”

Boyd has been charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the union and the game contrary to RFU Rule 5.12.

The New Zealander is set to leave Northampton at the end of the season, with Telegraph Sport reporting on Monday that forwards coach Phil Dowson will replace Boyd as director of rugby.

Jersey Reds head coach Harvey Biljon has also been charged for the same offence following his comments after a recent loss to Bedford Blues in the Championship.

Discussing referee George Selwood after Jersey’s defeat on Boxing Day, Biljon told the Jersey Evening Post: “We had been called ‘not straight’ in the lineout, then the referee [Selwood] let one go and that ended up being a penalty kicked to the corner, two yellow cards and they took a score with us left with only 13 men.

“I don’t think either infringements were yellow cards but, obviously when you’re away from home and there’s an intimidating crowd, referees can buckle. He buckled today.

“The critical moments were down to the referee. We need a review of them, see if they’re right and if there is anything we can do. We have to make sure in future referees don’t influence games as much as [Selwood] did.

“Bedford had numerous warnings around the maul and, even though we were scoring, nothing was happening by the referee. We have to take that out of the referee’s hands.”

Recent examples of directors of rugby or head coaches being punished for abuse of match officials include former Leicester Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy, who was handed a three-game ban and fined £1,500 for comments made to television match official Sean Davey following a game against Bath in 2019. Murphy’s comments were undisclosed.

Former Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond was given a six-game ban – three of which were suspended – back in 2017 for comments regarding referee Craig Maxwell-Keys following a loss to Exeter Chiefs. “Well he’s making it up isn’t he. The ref was making the decision up,” Diamond said at the time. Diamond was also given a £3,000 fine, half of which was suspended.

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