London - Rugby chiefs insisted on Monday that referee Romain Poite had been completely correct in the way he oversaw Italy's unorthodox approach to the breakdown during their Six Nations clash at Twickenham after the French official came under fire from England coach Eddie Jones.
The Australian was left seething as a struggling Italy, defying all pre-match predictions, led the Grand Slam champions 10-5 at half-time at Twickenham in a match where the Azzurri repeatedly refused to form rucks and so could legitimately stray offside - a move England's 2003 World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward called "innovative and inspired".
England eventually regained their composure to win 36-15 on Sunday as they extended their winning steak to 17 successive Tests.
But an angry Jones called for the rulebook to be revised and accused Poite of looking "flustered", adding: "I've never seen a referee lose his perspective of the game."
However, a spokesman for World Rugby, the game's global governing body told AFP on yesterday: "The match official team officiated law correctly.
- Title: World rugby back referee as Woodward lauds Italy
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- Date: 2:08 PM