An Article in The Australian, a daily newspaper in Sydney
!!LIMITING THE POWER OF THE WHISTLE There are no doubt a lot of Australian rugby supporters celebrating our victory over the Springboks yesterday. There are also a number of us that are wondering how on earth we managed to pull it off against aside that dominated possession and territory and line outs. Now, Idon’t want to take anything away from the Australian victory – our boys did perform superbly but on the day the Springboks were, we have to admit, the better side. The boks, as always were magnanimous in defeat with a somewhat pragmatic approach to the result. I wonder what our boys would have said faced with the same situation of blatant incompetence by Mr Bryce Lawrence.I support Australia and always will but for those of us that believe in fair play this was a hollow victory. This was very much like fighting a worthy opponent with one arm strapped behind his back – it leaves a bad taste. There were rumours about Mr Lawrence’s impartiality before kick-off from a lot of ex pat South Africans now living in Australia but we tend to dismiss these conspiracy theories with a grin. Certainly, Mr Lawrence’s performance on the field did nothing to dispel those theories. His performance was nothing short of abysmal. He did not award the bok try because of a dubious forward pass. I have looked and looked and to me, anyway, it did not look forward. Minutes later when the boks once again breached our defences and were well on the way to scoring another try, he called them back for a forward pass. If the first call was contentious, there certainly was nothing wrong with the second one. Here, I must ask – why not use the “eye in the sky”? An impressive expensive piece of equipment that should be used for such decisions. He failed to penalise Pocock for slowing the ball down. If we had played like that against the All Blacks, they would not have been so quiet about it. – and rightly so. In the dying minutes of the game he was in full view of at least 2 high tackles by our boys that went unpunished. Any of these transgressions, if properly acted on, would have surely given the game to the Boks with their advantage over territory. To rub salt in the South African wounds, he awarded a high tackle to the Wallabies for a chest high tackle. We won, but did we really? Our sport has always been regarded as a“hooligans game played by gentlemen” – If we do not want rugby union to degenerate into a farce that soccer can become we need to make sure that our refs are of suitable calibre. They need to be trust worthy gentlemen. Mr Lawrence, I would advise against any planned holidays to SouthAfrica for a couple of years.