New vision has emerged of furious Wallabies skipper Nic White telling the referee he ‘cost Australia the Rugby Championship’ after the side’s heartbreaking 39-37 loss to New Zealand.
Australia looked headed for a historic victory over the All Blacks after 20 years of Bledisloe Cup pain, before one of the most controversial decisions in rugby union history cruelled the Wallabies chances after victory appeared certain.
Not only did it mean Australia could not win the Bledisloe Cup; it also meant the Wallabies crashed out of Rugby Championship contention.
That was a point not lost on White, who confronted the referee, Frenchman Mathieu Raynal, after the match.
‘He (Foley) was just about to kick it out and for two seconds … mate, that just cost us the Rugby Championship,’ a fuming White told Raynal.
After the Wallabies had rallied from a 31-13 second-half deficit to take the lead with three minutes remaining, they forced a penalty from the All Blacks scrum; all but sealing the victory.
But as flyhalf Bernard Foley went to kick the ball into touch to likely end the match, Raynal made the rare and unusual call to sanction Foley for time-wasting.
That gave New Zealand a scrum at close range, which was the platform for All Blacks fullback Jordie Barrett’s match-winning try, which broke the hearts of Aussie fans.
Wallabies legend Tim Horan branded Raynal’s call ‘just disgraceful’, while Australia will now demand SANZAAR and World Rugby explain how the decision came about.
‘I’ve been commentating for over 20 years and I thought it was a disgraceful decision by the referee, he cracked under pressure,’ Horan said.
‘It was a disgraceful decision and World Rugby need to look at it. It was terrible.’
Gutted Wallabies players Marika Koroibete (left) and Reece Hodge (right) embrace after Australia’s heartbreaking loss
Fellow Wallabies great Morgan Turinui, who was commentating the game, said there were clearly double standards at play.
‘There’s a law that you have 90 seconds from scoring the try to making the conversion,’ Turinui said.
‘(But) twice in the game the All Blacks went past 90 seconds and the referee rightly didn’t ruin the game by being pedantic and cancel the conversion attempt.’
A dejected Bernard Foley leaves the field after the Wallabies heartbreaking loss last Thursday
French referee Mathieu Raynal is under fire after his hugely controversial decision that cost the Wallabies a Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup win
In his tense stand-off with White, Raynal stood by his decision despite drawing the ire of (almost) the entire rugby world.
‘Nic (White) I’m sorry, you know exactly what I wanted,’ he could be heard saying on the vision, which was released by Stan Sports.
‘So that’s not fair what you did at the end, you just run the time and you know exactly. If you think I’m not capable to give a scrum, you’re making a mistake.
‘So now you know it.’
The last comment in particular will no doubt ire Wallabies players and supporters, with Raynal implying the threat to his ego appeared to be the greatest motivation for his decision to blow a penalty.
Wallabies captain Nic White (centre) gets some consolation from coach Dave Rennie after the match
It was far from the only contentious moment in the match.
Lock Darcy Swain is set to face a SANAAR judiciary after an ugly challenge of All Black Quinn Tupaea, that saw the Kiwi suffer a tear to his ACL.
While Tupaea’s leg was outstretched as he looked to recover the ball from a maul, Swain landed heavily on him – something which is not allowed given the potential for injury.
It was an act slammed by All Blacks coach Ian Foster.
‘We’ve got a big issue with it,’ he said in his post-match press conference.
‘We’ve got a player who’s probably out for nine months and you’re not allowed to target legs on the side at clean-out past the ball. ‘The rules are pretty clear.’
It earned Swain a yellow card, when many believed it could quite as easily have been a red.
He may face a suspension after a review – but an eagle-eyed pundit has spotted yet another example of double standards during the contentious match.
‘Refereeing on outcome? This incident in the 72nd minute during Bledisloe I shows All Blacks prop Fletcher Newell in from the side, dragging Scott Sio’s leg and lands his body weight on his leg,’ journalist Christy Doran posted on his Twitter.
‘Interesting when compared to Darcy Swain’s challenge on Quinn Tupaea, who was injured.’
Many fans did slam Doran for ‘reaching’ on his criticism of Rayal, but the footage is there for all to see.
Rieko Ioane and David Havili of the All Blacks celebrate with the Bledisloe Cup after the side’s controversial victory over the Wallabies
Former rugby refereeing great Nigel Owens also flagged ‘refereeing on outcome’, insisting Raynal should not be penalising or showing a card based on how much a player is hurt.
‘It is a tricky one, there will be a lot of arguments that a yellow card is sufficient,’ he told Fox Sports.
‘There’ll also be justified arguments that a red card would be justified as well, particularly on the outcome of it. But you’ve got to be very careful that you’re not always basing your decisions on an outcome.’
For now, the Wallabies will look to somehow regroup ahead of the second clash of the now-lost Bledisloe Cup on Saturday afternoon in Auckland.