Welsh Rugby
Jones slams WRU over referee suspension
ESPN Staff
April 19, 2013
Ospreys prop Adam Jones shouts instructions, Ospreys v Biarritz, Heineken Cup, Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales, November 12, 2011
Adam Jones has questioned the WRU's priorities in a tweet © Getty Images

Wales and British & Irish Lions prop Adam Jones has hit out at the Welsh Rugby Union after it suspended a referee for 12 weeks due to a tweet.

Hugh Watkins handed in his resignation earlier this week after he was asked to attend a WRU disciplinary hearing following a tweet he posted questioning a decision made by a referee in the Hong Kong Sevens final.

Jenkins deemed Ilai Tinai's tip-tackle on Lee Williams to warrant a harsher penalty than the yellow card handed out and tweeted: "Sorry that's a shocker. Had to be red no other option. We need referees to be consistent in this."

IRB referee chief Paddy O'Brien deemed this to be a code of conduct violation and Watkins was handed a 12-week ban by the WRU. Watkins had already resigned at this point and he told ESPN on Thursday that the incident had left a bitter taste.

The WRU is currently embroiled in a public war of words with the four regions - Scarlets, Blues, Ospreys and Dragons - regarding the future set-up of the domestic game. The regions will meet the WRU next week in an attempt to settle the dispute with the possibility of central contracts one matter likely to be on the agenda.

And Jones, who is likely to be involved with the Lions squad this summer, took to Twitter to question whether the WRU should be spending more time focusing on the future of the Welsh regional set-up rather than hauling an official in front of a disciplinary panel.

Watkins, who ran the line during the 2007 World Cup and in two Heineken Cup finals, had hoped to secure a TMO position for next season but he will now focus fully on his office manager post. He told ESPN: "I was very disappointed with how it has been handled.

"For someone who has given 20-years service for the WRU and I feel, as a manager myself, a little word or telephone call was warranted - just to say 'I think the comments were inappropriate'. But there was nothing to do with that, it was just a straightforward letter."

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