The penalty Blues
Recently in a SANZAR statement it was mentioned that the Blues were seething, because of the penalty count against them when they played the Waratahs in Sydney and lost 11-23.
The statement said: "The Blues were seething over the massive difference in interpretation and application of the laws they encountered in the second half, after Cheika had entered the referees' dressing room in Sydney.
"The penalty count at the end of the first half was eight-to-one in favour of the Blues.
"The second-half penalty count was nine-to-one in favour of the Waratahs."
The actual penalty count was lopsided – seven-to-two in the first half to the Blues and eight-to-two in the second half to the Waratahs.
This weekend the penalty count was similar when the Blues played the Brumbies.
In the first half it was seven-to-one to the Blues; in the second half it was eight-to-two to the Brumbies.
It is unlikely that there will be a complaint as the Blues won 16-14, after Nic White missed a long-range penalty in the last minute.
Penalty counts may, of course, simply record how often a team infringed and were seen infringing by the match officials – who are not obliged to award penalties on the basis of one for Blue and then one for White, like dishing out sweets to children.
Penalty counts are not a sign of referee bias, as the Blues seemed to imply after the Sydney match.
Nor do the referees infringe.
They just react to players' infringements.
By Paul Dobson