Royce tackles official over high tackles

Saints Player Paul Wellens
Saints Player Paul Wellens

ROYCE Simmons has accused officials of double standards over the policing of high tackles during Sunday’s epic play-off victory.

The normally unflappable Aussie coach was furious at ref Phil Bentham’s failure to clamp down on Wigan’s bully-boy tactics.

Saints were on the receiving end of several high shots, particularly in a frenetic first half, with one high tackle leading to Wigan prop Andy Coley spending 10 minutes in the sin-bin, after flattening winger Tom Makinson.

But, as Simmons points out, many more high shots went unpunished, while a borderline hit on Sam Tomkins was immediately penalised.

Simmons now plans to “have words” with referees’ supremo Stuart Cummings in bid to prevent a repeat performance.

He said: “I thought my players had ‘hit me’ written across their foreheads.

“We must have copped several high tackles during the game with few acted on, but when Sam Tomkins received one we were immediately punished.”

Simmons added: “Neither was I pleased when the referee sent Sia Soliola to the touchline to change a blood-stained shirt just as Wigan formed a scrum, and then scored within two plays.

“It might have been the right call, but I will be looking into that. Overall I thought the referee’s performance on the day was very, very poor.”

The treatment of his players was the only complaint from Simmons, who had only praise for his players character.

But joint skipper Paul Wellens was less than happy was one aspect of his own performance.

Widely-hailed by observers for his two-try salvo, Wellens was instead kicking himself for one slip-up in focus during a crucial stage.

The full-back felt there had been a blatant forward pass in the build-up to Pat Richards’ try and let the Aussie wingman speed past him.

“I’m dirty on myself for that,” said Wellens. “I’ve been round the block too many times to let that happen to me.”