Rugby Australia has written to the sport’s governing body about “overbearing officials”, after the Wallabies were denied victory against New Zealand in a controversial refereeing decision.
French Referee Mathieu Raynal causes scandal in Australia after overturning a penalty awarded to the hosts in the dying seconds of their Rugby Championship clash against the All Blacks in Melbourne last week.
I penalized Bernard Foley for wasting time as the fly-half was about to put the ball into touch in the 80th minute with the Wallabies leading 37-34.
The All Blacks were instead given a five-yard scrum and Jordie Barrett crossed into the corner for a 39-37 victory to deprive Australia of the Bledisloe Cup and end their rugby championship hopes.
Veteran Foley insisted he deliberately didn’t waste time, saying it was so loud he couldn’t hear what Raynal was saying. Australian coach Dave Rennie said he had “never seen such a call, at any level”.
Rugby Australia said its letter to World Rugby was not specifically about the Raynal ruling, but more generally “the state of the game today and the overbearing nature of the rules and officials”.
“It’s not unusual, we’ve been lobbying World Rugby for some time on this,” a spokesperson added.
They are not alone in their frustrations. England coach Eddie Jones railed against what he perceived as overreaching during their tour of Australia this year.
Jones said he was fed up with laws that have seen games become stop-start affairs, which he believes will ruin next year’s World Cup in France.
“The referees, the players, the coaches have to come together and say, ‘This is the game we want, this is the game people want to see’,” he said.
“Fair and Strong Arbitration Call”
World Rugby has lowered the threshold for yellow and red cards, taking a cautious approach to improve player safety in a framework designed to protect the head, but it has slowed the action.
As Rennie and Australian fans were furious with Raynal’s decision, All Blacks manager Ian Foster insisted it was “very clear” and he found an ally in Nigel Owens, the most capped international rugby referee in the match.
“As many of you have been in touch asking for – clear communication and a warning to the player to continue,” the retired Owens tweeted.
“I feel a fair and strong referee call from Raynal. Learning here is not for the referee, but for the players to carry on when the referee asks.