Ref’s foul-ups try Noakes’ patience

2011-10-22 16:37

This year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand has not been without incident and controversy, with the outcome of certain matches being decided by diabolical refereeing decisions.

There is no question that the result of the quarter-final between South Africa and Australia was influenced by the incompetent performance by New Zealander Bryce Lawrence.

It even prompted highly respected South African sports professor Tim Noakes to accuse Lawrence of match fixing, saying that he was “benefiting personally” by knocking South Africa out of the Rugby World Cup.
Noakes has called on the International Rugby Board (IRB) to prove that South Africa’s exit from the Rugby World Cup was not fixed.

Noakes later denied that it came down to match fixing, but said it was merely to indicate that this particular game would prove a landmark case in the future history of the Rugby World Cup, since it appeared that refereeing decisions determined, in no small measure, the outcome of the game.

Noakes said that he accepted that poor decisions were often made, but that this seldom influenced a result. SA head of referees Andre Watson also chastised Lawrence for his woeful performance.

One could argue that South Africa did not make use of the many opportunities that came their way. But even former All Black captain Taine Randell said in an interview last week that the Boks were hard done-by.

Had it not been for Lawrence’s blatant errors, South Africa would have played in the semifinal against the All Blacks.
Randell said the Aussies definitely did not deserve to win that game. And coming from a former All Black captain, that says it all.

The problem is that the damage had already been done and a new Rugby World Cup champion will be crowned today.
Australia finished third by beating Wales 21-18. The French have already lost to the All Blacks and to Tonga, but they remain an enigma.

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