French referee defends controversial appeal that cost Wallabies the Bledisloe Cup, alleging Bernard Foley ‘forced’ him to punish Australia after ignoring repeated warnings… and reveals skipper Nic White apologized with a few beers after the match
- Australia controversially lost to New Zealand in first Bledisloe test
- Referee Mathieu Raynal fined Bernard Foley for wasting time
- His decision allowed the All Blacks to take a 39-37 win in the 81st minute
- Wallabies coach Dave Rennie denounced Raynal for ‘outrageous’ decision
- Raynal has defended his appeal, insisting that waste of time must be eradicated
Referee Mathieu Raynal has doubled down on his controversial Bledisloe Cup decision, backing a fight against wasting time.
The French official came under strong criticism after penalizing Australian fly-half Bernard Foley for taking too long to take a penalty in the last minute of their game against the All Blacks.
Australia then lost the test and reprimanded Raynal for “costing them the rugby championship”, after which the referee deleted his social media accounts.
French referee Mathieu Raynal’s controversial decision to penalize Bernard Foley (left) cost the Wallabies a Bledisloe win after their heroic comeback against the All Blacks two weeks ago
When asked whether more tough action should be taken against wasting time, he said: ‘That’s not my role. But what do we want in our sport? What kind of image do we want to give the young viewers?
“Want to see your child wasting time at the ball? Do you want to see your child diving and acting? That’s the real question. But my job is to arbitrate.
“I didn’t make the decision, the player forced me to make that decision. When I gave three warnings, when I stopped time, gave an official warning, asked him five times to play the ball, and when he didn’t play the ball, he forced me to make this decision.
When I go into that process with a player, he has to listen to me. I think I was very clear in what I expected from him. I have no option after that.
Foley (right) was penalized for wasting time just as he was about to kick the ball into contact with the Wallabies leading 37-34 and 80 minutes on the clock
But the All Blacks got a five-yard scrum that allowed Jordie Barrett to score the match-sealing try long after time ran out.
Barrett’s attempt took a 39-37 win for the All Blacks, as they retained the Bledisloe Cup
“I had to make a big decision at the end of such a big game. That didn’t make me happy, but when you’re in the process, I think you have to go to the end.’
Raynal also revealed that he has since made amends with Wallaby scrum half Nic White, who was particularly furious about the decision.
Nic White came after the last game on Saturday night [at Eden Park] with two beers in the locker room. He came to talk to me and I really appreciate what he has told me on his behalf and on behalf of the Australian team.
Wallabies boss Dave Rennie said he had ‘never seen a phone call like this, on any level’
Rugby Australia has written to World Rugby to formally complain about ‘overpowering officials’
“I won’t say publicly what our discussion was, but I appreciate what he did in Auckland last night.
“When I make a decision like that, I know what the referee’s role is, and I know what’s going to happen next, just to protect myself and to feel comfortable a second time. [Bledisloe] game, I deleted my social media and newspaper apps – I only have Candy Crush!
“I’ve tried to protect my family and my son from the noise and everything around it. I made sure they were comfortable and that they weren’t affected.’