The day All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick told Welsh referee Derek Bevan to 'f**k off'

Derek Bevan in the 1999 Rugby World Cup semi-final between South Africa and Australia at Twickenham on 30 October 1999 (Photo by Ross Setford/Getty Images)
Derek Bevan in the 1999 Rugby World Cup semi-final between South Africa and Australia at Twickenham on 30 October 1999 (Photo by Ross Setford/Getty Images)
Ross Setford
  • Legendary former Wales referee Derek Bevan was once told to "f**k off" by All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick.
  • It was during a Test in Auckland in 1994 when France claimed a first series win in New Zealand.
  • The incident was recalled by another top Welsh referee Nigel Owens, who said Fitzpatrick would not have gotten away with it in the modern era.

Wales referee Nigel Owens has recalled the day All Blacks legend Sean Fitzpatrick told another great Welsh referee Derek Bevan to "f**k off" during a Test.

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Bevan was the referee for an historic New Zealand home series defeat to France in 1994.

Les Bleus won the first Test in Christchurch 22-8, a match in which superstar Jonah Lomu made his Test debut, and France went on to claim their first series win in New Zealand when they edged the second Test 23-20 in Auckland.

However, the French trailed 20-16 heading into the dying moments before pulling off one of rugby's great length of the field tries from fullback Jean-Luc Sadourny.

New Zealand captain Fitzpatrick's outburst at Bevan came after Sadourny had scored.

"New Zealand had been in control all game and Grant Fox had kicked to the corner late on," Owens told the House of Rugby podcast.

"They were now going to win this game - the series would be drawn - and France were never going to get their first series win in New Zealand.

"There's a lineout, France win the ball and run it from behind their own posts. Philippe Saint-Andre starts it and France score this brilliant, brilliant try that's out of this world.

"New Zealand have now lost the series and Sean Fitzpatrick is captain. He's totally deflated after being in control all game, they've lost it.

"Derek has given the try beneath the sticks and as he's walking back... Fitzpatrick and a few forwards are trudging back to get behind the posts for the conversion.

"As Derek passes Fitzpatrick, he says to him 'what a wonderful try that was'. Fitzpatrick turns to Derek and says 'why don't you just f**k off Bevan'. You couldn't say that now, but back then you could," Owens concluded.

South African rugby fans will remember Bevan as a referee during the 1995 Rugby World Cup on these shores.

He was the referee in the Springboks' 27-18 opening win over the Wallabies in Cape Town and the 19-15 semi-final win over France in Durban.

He was also the referee when the Boks lost 27-21 after extra time in the 1999 World Cup semi-final to Australia at Twickenham.

- Compiled by Sport24 staff

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