Frustration boils over after Bledisloe Cup stuffing

Wallabies legend Tim Horan has slammed Mathieu Raynal’s decision to penalize Bernard Foley for time wasting as “disgraceful” and said the French referee “cracked under pressure.”

Horan, usually cool and measured in his assessments for Nine and Stan Sport, could not hide his frustrations following Thursday’s 39-37 heartbreaker in Melbourne that ensured New Zealand’s stranglehold on the Bledisloe Cup would stretch into a 21st year.

The All Blacks capitalized on the scrum feed with time running out as fullback Jordie Barrett crossed for a try in the corner to cap a wild and wacky night.

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“He cracked under pressure in one of the biggest moments, one the biggest games here in Australia, it was a disgraceful decision and World Rugby need to look at it,” Horan said.

The decision naturally dominated the post-match press conferences.

Dave Rennie and James Slipper of the Wallabies, and Ian Foster and Sam Whitelock of the All Blacks, all said they could not remember such a call in their lengthy careers.

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“I spoke to Bernard after the game. He was under the impression time was off,” Rennie said.

“The referee had told him to play and at no stage was he told or did he believe he was going to call a scrum from that. Most situations the clock is off and the clock stays off, so it sounds like the clock went off and then he started it again.

“As we know, a team scores a try late and you take your time getting back to halfway and they stop the clock and wait until you kick off.

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“The disappointing thing from our point of view is it was a fantastic game of footy and we should be celebrating the game as opposed to talking about a ref decision in the last minute… I haven’t seen a decision like that at any level.”

It was the cruelest of endings for Foley, who had a superb match in his Test return from a three year absence.

His clutch goalkicking had Australia on track to snatch an incredible comeback victory after they had trailed 31-13 in the second half.

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But instead both the Bledisloe and the Rugby Championship are now out of reach as both competitions come to a close at Eden Park on September 24.

“He’s a bit wildered to be honest, shocked by the decision,” Rennie said,

“Obviously he’s had a great performance and he feels like he’s let people down. He’s gutted.”

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Rennie said he would seek a please explain from the officials while Slipper – who left the game with a calf injury – said the dressing room was stunned and silent.

“There’s a sour taste in out mouth, because it was a good game, it was a cracker, great crowd, right to the wire – I just feel unfulfilled, bit weird,” the prop lamented.

“I’ve played 120-odd Tests and I’ve never seen it, and it would be interesting if that would be the call 10 minutes into the game, same thing. But at the end of the day he made a call.. . you know the (time wasting) rule’s there, but there are plenty of rules that I believe aren’t ruled on throughout the game – there’s that many rules.”

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Rennie then interjected, arguing that Raynal – an experienced 41-year-old – had been guilty of lacking a feel for the game and the situation.

“It’s just so disappointing to be talking about a decision made late in the game, as opposed to a fantastic Thursday night footy.”

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