Former Wallaby Drew Mitchell has blasted the influence of Third Match Official Ben Skeen after he again dominated Fiji’s loss to Wales with his input from the stands.
Four yellow cards were given out in Wales’ 29-17 win that knocked Fiji out of the World Cup, with Skeen directly responsible for two of them.
Skeen also played a big part in Australia’s loss to Wales that looks set to cost the Wallabies top spot in their pool and Mitchell called for the TMO to be dropped for repeated poor performances.
“I just think honestly it comes down to Ben Skeen,” Mitchell said.
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“We talk about players when they don’t perform they got dropped. Ben Skeen should be dropped, not on this performance alone.
“In every game that he has been the TMO at this Rugby World Cup he thinks the World Cup has been put on for Ben Skeen.
“He honestly needs to be stood down because he is just having too much impact on games.
“It is not just the amount of times he is coming in, it is how many angles he is asking for and his communication in how he speaks to the referee. It drags it out.
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“The amount of times when Ben Skeen is TMO and the play is stopped and we are all just sitting here for the game to restart it is honestly beyond . . . I have to stop there I’m getting too frustrated.”
Fellow commentator Greg Martin backed up Mitchell’s stance, claiming that at least one yellow card against Fiji was not warranted after Skeen intervened.
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“There is a common denominator Ben Skeen making a few more errors,” Martin said.
“He goes looking for things that don’t exist half the time.
“The yellow card against Fiji for coming off the line in defence was virtually a mistimed tackle. That is not an act that stopped a try occurring.
“If he held his ground and he pulled back anyway. That is not a deliberate act. You get yellow carded for deliberate acts.”