World Cup-winning former All Blacks coach Graham Henry apologised Tuesday over a tirade against the quality of refereeing in the Super 15 competition.
Henry, who is now an Auckland Blues assistant coach, agreed to issue the public apology after pleading guilty on Sunday to a misconduct charge brought by the Super 15 governing body SANZAR.
The New Zealander said he had been trying to highlight refereeing issues raised by the Blues loss to the Canterbury Crusaders on May 18 in a light-hearted manner but accepted he "went too far in criticising the match officials".
"I want to apologise to SANZAR and to the match officials involved for my comments and for any offence they may have felt, as this was certainly not my intention," he said in a statement.
"My intention was to try to respond to media questions in relation to matters I thought were important in an honest but humorous style. I clearly failed to achieve that."
Henry accused Super 15 officials in general of failing to police the offside line and singled out television match official (TMO) Keith Brown for criticism over a ruling that disallowed a Blues try against the Crusaders.
"It was obvious to me. He is probably a blind TMO, is he?"
He also claimed Crusaders prop Wyatt Crockett "got away with murder" at scrum time and took issue with Blues lock Calum Retallick being sinbinned for knocking down a pass to prevent the Crusaders scoring a try.
SANZAR judicial officer Jannie Lubbe said on Sunday that Henry had been let off with a reprimand and a requirement he make a public apology after his exemplary record as a coach for more than 40 years was taken into account.