Lawrence: I got it wrong in SA quarter-final

2011-11-17 00:00

NEW Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence has finally admitted that he made mistakes in handling the Springboks’ 9-11 quarter-final loss to the Wallabies at the Rugby World Cup.

The Springboks, their coaching staff, supporters and many neutral observers were critical of Lawrence’s refereeing, his inability to control the breakdown and reluctance to make action against a string of infringements during the controversial defeat.

“I was disappointed with some aspects in my own performance that day after refereeing four really pretty strong games in pool play,” Lawrence said yesterday, admitting the role he played in the game has been on his mind every day.

“I’m not blaming anyone for the quarter-final refereeing display apart from myself. I didn’t referee as well as I could.”

The New Zealand referee has been named as one of the Merit Panel referees for the Super Rugby, but he said he had been punished for his poor performance in the Wellington quarter-final.

“Look, there have been some pretty clear consequences from my quarter-final display,” he said. “I’m not going to be refereeing Six Nations next year.

“They can say that means I’m being rested, but in reality I accept that one of the consequences of my performance is that I’m not going to be doing Six Nations.”

Lawrence then contradicted himself, saying that his handling of the Wellington play-off had been praised by more knowledgeable critics.

“My quarter-final performance created a lot of negative reaction in South Africa, pretty hostile, very personal, very harsh,” he said.

“But on the flipside of that, I got a lot of really strong positive support from rugby people in New Zealand and around the world who probably know me a little bit more than the people in South Africa and were feeling for me during that time.”

Lawrence has received threats from rabid South African supporters and added that he will not officiate in South Africa if he fears for his safety. A petition started in South Africa to stop Lawrence refereeing again prompted a massive response.

“I’m not totally concerned [about the threats]” Lawrence told Radio Sport yesterday. “But I know a lot of other people like the New Zealand Rugby Union and Sanzar do have some serious concerns.

“In all honesty, I’m not going to go over there if there’s any personal threat or I have concerns about my safety because in the end it’s a job, I know that, and also it’s just a sport so I’m not going to put myself at risk.”

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