World Rugby: There was NO referee apology

Matt O Brien (Gallo Images)
Matt O Brien (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - World Rugby has denied that referee Matt O'Brien apologised over his controversial handling of the Wellington Sevens final between New Zealand and South Africa.

According to a report on supersport.com, O’Brien met with Bok Sevens coach Neil Powell on Wednesday in Sydney ahead of this weekend’s Sydney Sevens along with World Rugby Sevens assessor Tappe Henning and delivered a “heartfelt” apology for the way he refereed the final of the tournament.

The All Blacks Sevens side beat the Blitzboks 24-21 after scoring three tries in the last three minutes of the match.

But according to the Stuff.co.nz website, a World Rugby spokesperson said there was no such apology nor was one required.

The Blitzboks led 21-7 before O'Brien made some questionable calls, including awarding a 9-1 penalty count in New Zealand's favour.

"It is factually incorrect to state that Matt O'Brien issued a 'heartfelt' apology to the South Africa Seven coach Neil Powell following last weekend's Wellington Sevens. This simply did not happen," the World Rugby spokesperson said in an e-mail to Stuff.co.nz.

"Coach feedback is an important part of the 360 degree match officials review process and while O'Brien and Powell did jointly review the performance, there was no apology required and none offered.

"Powell has since informed World Rugby that he was misquoted."

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