Chris Boyd, the Northampton Saints director of rugby, has been suspended from all matchday coaching duties for two games after suggesting referee Adam Leal “didn’t have enough nuts” to penalise Saracens during a key moment in Northampton’s recent 30-6 defeat.
The suspension will include Northampton’s game on Sunday in the Champions Cup against Ulster and the following week’s fixture away to Racing 92 in Paris. Boyd can only attend both fixtures as a spectator.
Boyd accepted the charge of conduct prejudicial to the interests of the union and the game contrary to RFU Rule 5.12. Along with the suspension, the panel ruled that Boyd must “present to the playing and non-playing members of the club on the topic of the need for respect for match officials and that he should undertake a second presentation to a school or local rugby club of his choice so as to get the same message out at a grassroots level”.
His comments referred 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.”
The New Zealander is set to leave Northampton at the end of the season, with forwards coach Phil Dowson replacing Boyd as director of rugby.
Meanwhile Harvey Biljon, the Jersey Reds director of rugby, has been given a one-match suspension for his own comments regarding an official 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.”
Along with the one-match suspension, which will cover Jersey’s fixture on Saturday against Doncaster Knights, Biljon is required to give two presentations on the core values and the importance of respect for match officials and must provide the RFU with video evidence of the presentations which confirm his compliance with this requirement.