Matt Williams believes English referees were far too intrusive during the latter rounds of this season's Champions Cup.
Saturday's Champions Cup final between Toulouse and La Rochelle was officiated by an all-English team. Luke Pearce took charge of his first Champions Cup final while Wayne Barnes and Matthew Carley were his assistants. Tom Foley was the TMO.
"The English referees in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals have been very, very poor," former Leinster and Ulster head coach Williams told Virgin Media Sport.
"I'll give you an example: The 68th minute, when [La Rochelle's Gregory] Alldritt was penalised for being off his feet at a ruck, they could have pulled that penalty out 65 times in that game, and they pulled it out once. It's the inconsistency of that.
"We just saw so much of the English referees, so much of them talking to TMO's, it really got out of control.
"I thought the second half, Luke Pearce did better. I thought he'd lost control in the first half. It was so mad, and he found it difficult to keep up with it. But it did get better in the second half, I think that's because the players actually played a bit of rugby, and started to get tired.
"Our officiating at the top level is having such an impact on the game, and slowing the game. We're seeing far too much of referees, and not enough of our great athletes. That has to change. World Rugby has to act on this. It's not just here, it all around the world. We saw it up close in the quarters, the semis, and finals.
"In particular, the English referees are way, way over officious, and they don't have a great feel for the game. That's why we got the sort of game we had today."
"The English referees in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final have been very very poor."
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) May 22, 2021
Former Italy international Ian McKinley added:
"In terms of Luke Pearce, Wayne Barnes seemed to be reffing that game a bit more than he did. As a player, if you see the touchjudge or TMO is reffing it more than the main man in the middle, you might question his authority."