Ben Smith Rugby World Cup 2019: Joe Schmidt puts pressure on referee ahead of Ireland’s clash with Japan

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Joe Schmidt has heaped the pressure on referee Angus Gardner ahead of Ireland‘s World Cup clash with hosts Japan on Saturday.

Head coach Schmidt claimed the last time Gardner refereed Ireland proved “incredibly frustrating”, intimating his side were unduly punished during March’s 25-7 Six Nations loss to Wales in Cardiff that sealed the hosts’ Grand Slam.

Japan have spent the week claiming Cian Healy angles in illegally at the scrum, with not only prop Yusuke Kizu calling out their opponents but also head coach Jamie Joseph backing the Brave Blossoms’ suspicion.

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Ireland boss Schmidt was nonplussed by those claims, pointing to his side’s low set-piece penalty count as confirmation of their clean approach.

“Obviously last time we had Angus (Gardner) it wasn’t great for us,” said Schmidt.

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“We didn’t play particularly well but we didn’t feel we got a lot of the rub of the green from Angus either.

“I think if you look back at the scrum, we actually went straight through the middle of the Welsh scrum to get a turnover ball very early in the game.

“And then when they ran around the corner we got no receipt (of penalties) from that and they were given penalty rewards, which was incredibly frustrating.”

Schmidt rarely offers candid views on referees other than to stress Ireland’s hard graft to concede as few penalties as possible, which all feeds int

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