Saturday Jun 23, 2018 More referee controversy as All Blacks make it a clean sweep over France

More referee controversy as All Blacks make it a clean sweep over France
18
Comments

In a script similar to the past two weeks, the New Zealand vs France series had more controversy surrounding the referee. It was a turning point in the match, as New Zealand soon found their top gear to finish off a French whitewash 49-14 and 3-0. 

It was all France in the opening minutes in Dunedin, so it was no surprise when they were the first to touch down. They managed to remain poised after captain Morgan Parra was knocked out of the match early on with a concussion. 

Replacement Baptiste Serin filled in nicely and sold a dummy for a well-deserved French try after having dominated early possession. The returning Wesley Fofana scored another magical try shortly thereafter. 

However, the French couldn’t capitalize from the early success and were totally overwhelmed in the second half. 

The turning point – and moment of controversy – came with the 32nd minute try awarded to Damian McKenzie. McKenzie exploded through a hole that was created when referee John Lacey obstructed Serin’s path on defence. The All Blacks took the lead and never looked back.

Lacey did ask to see the play on the TMO, but quickly declared “I’m happy” and allowed the try to stand. It’s yet another ‘what if’ from the series.

Obviously the two coaches stand in disagreement concerning the incident.

Speaking of the incident, French coach Jacques Brunel said: “To me, it seems quite clear, and quite straight forward, that if a player or a referee should obstruct the play, then it disadvantages one team or the other, then it needs to be accounted for and dealt with. It seemed clear in that situation.”

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen disagreed: “There is nowhere in the rule book that says the referee can cause obstruction. So, he’s got to stand somewhere. And it’s not our fault that our guy ran close to where he was standing, it’s happened to us a few times in the past.”

The fact remains, the All Blacks made the necessary adjustments and started scoring tries at will. The French truly had no answer for MacKenzie or Reiko Ioane, who accounted for five of the All Blacks’ tries, with a hat-trick to Ioane.

Another factor was the enormous pressure put on a French lineout that struggled all series. 

With the win, the All Blacks sealed the 3-0 series whitewash, scoring a cumulative total of 127-38. 

FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS:

Credit: Rugby Infinity/All Blacks/Getty Images

18 Comments

  •  breakaway
    breakaway

    Serin knew where the ref was but positioned himself poorly to defend, and then made a meal of the situation. There is no law covering this and so there is no "spirit" that can magically absolve Serin of his mistake, or help the fullback who took off in the wrong direction. If this had been a French try and the ref, as you suggest, had recalled it because of "common sense" despite the law saying it was a legitimate French score, just imagine the outrage. Legitimate try and correct decision.

    Reply
  •  joeythelemur
    joeythelemur

    Hansen didn't say that "it had no bearing on that particular play"; he was just pointing out the obvious: that the ref has to stand somewhere and that there's simply no law that provides for obstruction by the referee. And Pickay's comment is accurate in that for a 49-14 match, it's ridiculous to focus on this score as "the turning point" and make the headline about it. It shows a pre-disposition to be "clickbaity" rather than a sober assessment of the game. I get that this is not a straight news site, but it's disappointing to say the least. Compare this post to the headline for the IRE/AUS recap: "Ireland build towards RWC 2019 with brilliant season and 2-1 series victory". Now you tell me: which match had the greater controversy regarding a referee decision? Maybe people are just tired of the All Blacks?

    Reply
  •  vladimir
    vladimir

    I remember a time when 'spirit of the law' still applied in the game. Aswell as common sense.

    Reply
  •  vladimir
    vladimir

    Cough*Eddie*cough*Jones*cough

    Reply
  •  pickay
    pickay

    OK sure, but he would order a re-set scrum based on what? As it was pointed out in this discussion, there seems to be no law backing that up... Or you mean regardless of the laws he should have come to this decision, just based on common sense?

    Reply
  •  weejockmcplop
    weejockmcplop

    Clear block by JL, he does try to get out of the way but completely fails and blocks the tackler. A decent Ref would order a re-set scrum

    Reply
  •  felipeg
    felipeg

    I meant "alone VS 2 Blacks".

    Reply
  •  felipeg
    felipeg

    This is so frustrating. I would love to complain but...meh. I have to admit that the pass is not as forward as it looked. When you see it from multiple angles, it's most probably OK. And, whatever the rule (ahem, law) says regarding that ref being in the way, what's obvious is that Serin had to defend alone VS blacks. Remove Lacey from the pitch and they still get that try almost every time. I won't spit on RD tough, because the controversy was there wether you like it or not. Numerous reactions, also from NZ, pointed out this incident. Some of them calling Lacey an idiot.

    Reply
  • No - you're correct. Law 6.10 applies only to the ball carrier making contact with the ref. Since that is not what happened here, the try was rightly awarded.

    Reply
  • It seems he wasn't totally clear whether he had only been touched by the defender, or whether he was also touched by the ball carrier. Seeing it was the former, he applied the law correctly and awarded the try.

    Reply
  •  pickay
    pickay

    That would absolutely explain it! The only thing it doesn't explain then, is why the ref did go back to check at all whether he took out a defender? Cause he went back to check exactly that, and then said he was "happy". So seems like he didn't have to go back to check in the first place...

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    "The problem is primarily with the rules of the game" *Puts on snobbish nerd hat, pushes up glasses* They're called Laws. To be honest, you know they're called laws, we have a law book, it is filled with laws... You're actually making more of an effort to call them rules (has 1 extra letter), than to call them laws. And whilst I agree that the laws are a mess at the moment, I don't think pushing some minor activism goal of changing them to rules to appease all the non binary brigade is really a particularly good idea...

    Reply
  •  oldflyhalf
    oldflyhalf

    ..."a possible forward pass". ...not this time. :)

    Reply
  •  pete
    pete

    Hard to swallow if you're French but article I read pointed out it's on the defender to avoid ref and law only relates to attacking player running into him. Current law: If the ball or the ball-carrier touches the referee or other non-player and neither team gains an advantage, play continues. If either team gains an advantage in the field of play, a scrum is awarded to the team that last played the ball. So can't be called back for defender running into him, may explain why try still stood?

    Reply
  •  andinov
    andinov

    The solution isn't to just ignore the problem! Don't get me wrong, NZ would have won this match with any ref. The problem is primarily with the rules of the game. They're a complete mess at the moment. I can't think of a single other sport where the names of the refs are so well known and how you have to 'play to that refereeing style'. It's complete nonsense and damaging to the game

    Reply
  •  colombes
    colombes

    Don't really get the controversy here, as "the ref zone" is part of the game. Furthermore, the french pundits in this video critic more a possible forward pass, not the ref obstruction. It would be more controversial to see a ref cancelling this try, than the opposite. A trying and cruel series for les bleus, yes, but let's not transform it in a clickbait topic ;)

    Reply
  •  nui_johnson
    nui_johnson

    I dont get the controversey. As far as im aware a defender running into the referee does not constitute an obstruction. Some train spotter might be able to put me in my place, but that seems to me to be an out and out try.

    Reply
  •  oldflyhalf
    oldflyhalf

    1. "The returning Wesley Fofana scored another magical try shortly thereafter." What is "magical" to the Fofana's try?! ...Goodhue missed a banal tackle. If Fofana's try is magical, Ioane's first try how is it? 2. The answer, the observation, coach All Blacks to the accusation of "referee obstruction" is very correct and full of common sense. Serin has positioned to this scrum near to the referee and he chose not to run into the player, but into the referee. ...it was he free chose.

    Reply

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