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New Zealand expert panel put boot into officials following record defeat

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Tuesday Aug 29, 2023

In a country where Rugby is closer to a religion than merely a sport, it is unsurprising that the performance of the All Blacks is of utmost importance to New Zealanders.

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This intertwining of sport and community is reflected by the coverage of the oval ball games on national television throughout the country.

Leading the conversation is the exceptional analysis show “The Breakdown,” which dives into all of the goings on in the sport on a weekly basis.

Featuring an expert panel of former All Blacks and experienced pundits, the show breaks down how they see the game.

Whilst the analysis is generally exceptional, the human element of viewing the outcome through a pro-New Zealand lens remains as it does for expert shows of other countries.

This week’s show analysed the All Blacks record defeat at the hands of the Springboks in their sold-out exhibition clash at Twickenham Stadium in London.

The panel roundly agreed that the Springboks had been the better team. However, one area that caught the ire of many online was their insistence that the match officials had ruined the contest.

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Having been shown three yellow cards throughout the fixture, one to captain Sam Cane and two to secondrow Scott Barrett. The Kiwis played a bulk of the fixture down a man, which no doubt did not help their cause.

Yet, this factor was not the match officials issue but rather one of the immense pressures applied by the Boks that forced the All Blacks into constant infringement.

One moment in particular that caught the eye was Barrett’s second yellow card for a challenge on Springbok Hooker Malcolm Marx.

Diving into Marx, who was lying on the ground, Barrett’s challenge is widely accepted as reckless. However, the panel instead went on the offensive, in particular regular co-host Jeff Wilson, who stated that Barrett should not have been cited.

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He went on to highlight moments that he felt the Springboks infringed whilst also pointing out his concerns that players were “milking” incidents.

One player in particular that Wilson took aim at was number eight Duane Vermeulen, who he claimed stayed down whilst All Black hooker Dane Coles bounced back up from a similar incident.

In addition to Wilson, guest Patrick Gower felt the addition of the bunker system to review acts of foul play was affecting the game by making the fixture too long. Thus insinuating that it was ruining the product.

Gower later states, “If we are going to be having conversations like this throughout the World Cup, then it is going to be a boring World Cup.” Referencing the match officials and bunker performance.

For the full video, check out below and let us know your thoughts. Do you agree with the panel, or is this a reaction to a record defeat for the All Blacks?

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