Holland spent considerable time after the 23-8 defeat locked away in deep conversation with match commissioner Jean Matheu of France. While stressing he had no complaints with the game result or the Welsh referee Nigel Williams, Holland said he was unhappy about the performance of the fourth official, a Frenchman.
I expressed our concerns on several issues and especially that the referee and touch judges weren t wired so they had no communication, said Holland.
I understand their baggage was delayed overnight but I felt ERC would have had plenty of time to get replacement ear pieces and mikes. "
At this level of noise, they needed that. The referee and his touch judges handled the game fine, I had no difficulty there, but their equipment is an integral part of their make-up at this level.
The fourth and fifth officials had no English, an issue we brought to ERC s attention last year when it happened down in Castres. Communications were difficult then to say the least and ERC said it was something they would look into and that it wouldn t happen again. While a player can t touch an official, an official cannot place a hand on a player. He physically manhandled one of our players and that s not acceptable and I was making that point.
If anything, Mick Galwey was more annoyed than Jerry Holland at what happened. He loudly and clearly berated the official. Galwey played it down as a storm in a teacup although he did expand: The fourth official was shouting abuse at me in French. I don t know the hell what he was saying to me but I think he understood what I said back to him.
With Mick O Driscoll in some pain because of a damaged toe, Munster s sense of frustration at not being able to get Galwey into the game was understandable although it is true that by then it was well and truly game, set and match to the French.
This is not a gripe but what happened was wrong and our players deserve better treatment than that, said Holland. The ERC has a responsibility to the players and the teams to have proper communications and officials on the sideline who can communicate with the visiting team and that wasn t the case.
The match commissioner was indignant but the fourth official admitted he did restrain Mick Galwey because he was on the pitch without permission, yet the touch judge gave him permission to go on.
It took us five minutes to make a substitution. Perpignan were able to make five or six substitutions without any delays.