Referees boss Paddy O'Brien says all 20 World Cup coaches are on-side with his intended approach for World Cup matches, including a hard line on offsides and infringements that slow down the attacking team's ball at the breakdown.
O'Brien told coaches at a pre-tournament meeting in Auckland that while referees would try to ensure attacking sides were able to win quick ball, they would control matches according to the rules and not a vision of how games should be played.
"If we can give teams space and quick ball they will be able to play the game they wish, whether that is to keep it in the forwards, play a kicking game or an attacking game," O'Brien said.
"It is not the role of the referee to decide how the game is to be played, it is the role of the referee to create the environment for a team to play the way they wish to."
England coach Martin Johnson said he hoped there would be no "shocks and surprises" from referees, adding he was most concerned about how the breakdown would be controlled.
Springboks flank Heinrich Brüssow, who is seen one of the world's best breakdown exponents, also hoped for consistency from referees.
"It's going to be all about the referees at the breakdown. If players transgress, then they are going to be penalized," he told reporters in Wellington.
"There's a fine line that all of us will be walking there and we have to know how fine it is. If they nail guys at the breakdown and do it both ways, that will be fine. You have to feel the referee at the beginning and adapt to him."
O'Brien said it might not be possible to get total consistency among referees, but he expected they would approach matches with a common philosophy.
"We're really emphasizing that to the referees to say look nothing has changed but you've got to be tighter on those [particular rules], because the team winning the ball should have every space available to them during the game," he said.
"The coaches have bought into that, so if we're going to tell the coaches one thing, we've got to back it up.
"Everyone agrees about the principle of quick ball, but you are going to get inconsistencies between referees about their own particular style, but not in the philosophy of what we want."
O'Brien said mistakes would be made but the emphasis would be on producing a game that could be enjoyed by players, fans and referees.
"We have asked our referees to enjoy the tournament. We are not going to get everything right. There will be mistakes," he said.
"Coaches will make mistakes, players will make mistakes and referees will make mistakes.
"We've asked our referees to be accurate at the clear and obvious mistakes and infringements in the game then I'm sure we will have a tournament which you and I will enjoy."
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