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‘Worst call in rugby history’ or ‘brave, correct and necessary’? World reacts to Bledisloe controversy, ref torched

The controversial decision by referee Mathieu Raynal to ping Bernard Foley for time-wasting in the last minute of the Wallabies’ clash with New Zealand, allowing the All Blacks to win the game with a last-play try, has met a typically restrained, understanding and tolerant reaction from Australian fans.

Nah, just kidding – everyone has gone absolutely troppo.

Sorry but that ref made the worst call in rugby history! Absolute shocker. Gives All blacks the win #AUSvNZ #RugbyChampionship

— Mark Struwig (@MarkStruwig) September 15, 2022

Fair warning, too – there’s some salty language ahead.

After Jordie Barrett made the most of the All Blacks’ awarded scrum feed to score in the corner and seal a 39-37 win in a Bledisloe Cup epic, and secure the trophy yet again, social media quickly became a firestorm.

That’ll do me. Robbed blind #BledisloeCup #AUSvNZL

— Simon McLoughlin (@simmomac) September 15, 2022

Sorry, that’s a complete nonsense #AUSvNZ

— Alex Spink (@alexspinkmirror) September 15, 2022

That’s a joke. #AUSvNZL

— Lachlan McKirdy (@LMcKirdy7) September 15, 2022

Leading the charge was former Wallaby Matt Giteau, the incensed 39-year old describing Raynal’s decision as ‘the worst I’ve seen’.

That’s the worst I’ve seen ????#BledisloeCup

— Matt Giteau ???????? (@giteau_rugby) September 15, 2022

A super contest arguably ruined by that last call.. I can’t believe that. ????????‍ congrats @AllBlacks & @wallabies on an unreal game! Such a cruel ending ????#BledisloeCup

— Matt Giteau ???????? (@giteau_rugby) September 15, 2022

Giteau wasn’t the only prominent Australian athlete to take issue with the call – fittingly considering the game was played in Melbourne, prominent AFL players Mason Cox and Nic Naitanui joined in the growing tirade.

Terrible ending to that game, why would he call that! Vinaka koroibete on 50 caps #BledisloeCup

— Nic Naitanui (@NicNat) September 15, 2022

Wtf!? To legit make that call as an umpire is insane! ????????????????
How much did the All Blacks pay that man? #BledisloeCup

— Mason Cox (@masonsixtencox) September 15, 2022

Cox’s description of the decision as ‘insane’, and mild accusation of corruption on Raynal’s part, quickly proved one of the tamer reactions to the last-minute controversy.

Raynal’s performance was subject to a barrage of criticism, with the Frenchman accused of taking centre stage with the extremely ware time-wasting penalty against the Wallabies.

Ah, the ref had to make sure he got his face on the screen one last time.

Ridiculous. #AUSvNZL

— Lachlan McKirdy (@LMcKirdy7) September 15, 2022

Absolutely iconic game for the ages

Raynal: how do I make this about me?

— MaddogOdds (@MaddogOdds) September 15, 2022

I’m in disbelief at that decision. Don’t think I’ve ever seen that given and to give it in this game at that moment is shocking. Aussie fans and punters have every right to be disgusted.#RugbyChampionship #AUSvNZ

— The Conductor (@BrendonWessels) September 15, 2022

Referee once again the difference. An utterly farcical call, may as well have had a black jersey on. Wallabies were immense and simply robbed. #AUSvNZL #BledisloeCup

— George Byrne (@gbyrne1974) September 15, 2022

What on earth was that. I’ve never ever ever seen a referee give a scrum for ‘wasting time’ taking a penalty kick – you can’t waste time the clock is dead! Referee just gifted that win to New Zealand.#RugbyChampionship #AUSvNZ

— Lee Noble (@LeeNoble20) September 15, 2022

Gonna be a heck of a precedent.

— iainpayten (@iainpayten) September 15, 2022

What a disgraceful decision from the flog officiating. One of the worst decisions to go down in the history of all sporting events #BledisloeCup

— Mattt0028 (@MattMuir28) September 15, 2022

Former Wallaby Tim Horan added his voice to the host of furious Australians, telling Stan Sport that Raynal’s decision was ‘disgraceful’, and saying the ref ‘cracked under pressure’.

“It was a disgraceful decision, and World Rugby need to look at it,” Horan fumed.

“Even if that was against the All Blacks, I’d still be disagreeing with the decision. We’ve got to move on, but I tell you what, a lot of people were stung by it.”

That was ridiculous decision from Raynal. Bizarre. Foley was in the process of kicking. Disgrace.#AUSvNZ

— Dylan Jack (@dylmjack) September 15, 2022

I’ve seen some rubbish decisions in my time but that one takes the cake. @wallabies were robbed. #AUSvNZL #BledisloeCup #robbedbytheref

— DanRepacholi (@DanRepacholi) September 15, 2022

If Foley takes the exact same amount of time to kick for touch in the 50th minute, there is no way Mathieu Raynal makes that call. You can’t pick and choose when to apply rules. Absolutely ridiculous, inconsistent nitpicking that’s just cost the @wallabies the game. #Bledisloe

— ???? (@acemc89) September 15, 2022

That is one of the most disgusting ends to a rugby game I’ve ever seen. This was Australia’s game. Horrific. Once again, I’m not even Australian, just a sad rugby fan. #AUSvNZL #rugby #RugbyChampionship #bledisloe #BledisloeCup

— David Hoffmann (@db_hoffmann) September 15, 2022

Even New Zealand commentators and former players were aghast by the decision, with Morgan Turinui and Sky Sport broadcaster Karl Te Nana admitting that the All Blacks had got extremely lucky.

“I’m actually on your guys’ side – that’s a shocking call!” Te Nana exclaimed alongside Aussies Drew Mitchell and Sean Maloney on Stan Sport, while Turinui called for Turinui to face consequences.

“That referee should be sanctioned,” he said.

“If I’m Hamish McLennan, I’m the chairman, if I’m Andy Marinos at Rugby Australia, I am on the phone to World Rugby right now.

“Dave Rennie will probably get an apology on Monday morning… when a Victorian crowd who probably don’t know everything about rugby are throwing golden cushions onto the field at the end of the game in disgust, I think it shows that the referee’s got it completely wrong.

“That situation at the end of the game is not part of rugby. That shouldn’t be able to decide a Test match.”

Other fans were quick to throw their support behind a looming Rennie press conference tirade, with calls quickly emerging for Australian rugby fans to ‘pitch in’ should he be fined.

As a collective, Aus rugby community, can we all pitch in for the fine if Rennie or any player chooses to tee off on Raynal?
I was not in anyway going to point to him with any blame until that final call.
Prior to that, he hadn’t been a deciding factor, Aus discipline had

— Michael Atkinson (@kinson88) September 15, 2022

World Rugby just gifted NZ a win. If I was Mathieu Raynal I would leave Australia as quietly as possible. One again World Rugby favours the All Blacks over any other team. That call with one minute to go was the most idiotic decision by a ref I have ever seen. #AUSvNZ

— Ngamla Gouws ???????? (@RenaldoGouws) September 15, 2022

Well done Mattieu Raynal. Won that match beautifully for the All Blacks. Chapeau.

— Brenden Nel (@BrendenNel) September 15, 2022

I’ve seen referees put the whistle away in the last 5 minutes of a big game. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a referee produce a second whistle and just go fucking insane for the last 5 though…All time madness from Raynal.

— Hugh Cavill (@hughcavill) September 15, 2022

Others quickly made joking comparisons to Australia’s infamous submarine deal stoush with the French government last year, suggesting Raynal and France president Emmanuel Macron had worked together to get revenge and that the whole thing was really Scott Morrison’s fault after all.

Do you think the Wallabies were robbed? #Bledisloe #AUSvNZ

— Cam Reddin (@CamReddin) September 15, 2022

He’s French… I blame ScoMo and the submarines.

— Georgie Parker (@georgieparker) September 15, 2022

French ref finds a way to give payback to Australia for cancelling the submarine deal. #AUSvNZ #BledisloeCup

— Adam Astill (@moose_astill) September 15, 2022

“Mathieu, call the free kick now” #AUSvNZ

— Oliver Caffrey (@ollycaffrey) September 15, 2022

Between calls to let the players play, criticism of Raynal’s over-zealous umpiring and despair that the call had cost the Wallabies a famous win, the fire burned on and on throughout the night – and it wasn’t only Australians incensed.

Why do rugby referees always decide it’s all about them?

No other sport in the world is as over-officiated.

An incredible game – completely destroyed by one little French turd’s ego.

The better team lost tonight. Robbed again.#BledisloeCup #AUSvNZ

— Jonathon Momsen (@JonathonMomsen) September 15, 2022

I prefer to see the players decide the outcome of the game not the referee.

Mathieu Raynal should never referee at test level again @WorldRugby

— Loosehead Greg (@LooseheadG) September 15, 2022

Ref needs to be sacked. What a disgusting call.

— Jackson Jones (@Jackson69449684) September 15, 2022

Ive crept into Rassie territory… not proud of that.
But that was still a shocking call. But result aside, it ruined a game. A spectacle.
Let the players decide it.#AUSvNZ #BledisloeCup

— Michael Atkinson (@kinson88) September 15, 2022

I know zero about rugby.

But that was bullshit mate. #BledisloeCup

— David Culbert (@Culbert_Report) September 15, 2022

I’ve seen some appalling officiating in my time, but take a bow Mathieu Raynal. That last call was a fucking disgrace. #Wallabies #BledisloeCup

— fapanislives (@fapanislives) September 15, 2022

The single worst call I’ve ever seen from any official in any sport of any game. Mathieu Raynal you absolute flog #BledisloeCup

— Dan Romeo (@Dan_Romeo_1984) September 15, 2022

All Blacks coach Ian Foster also attracted criticism for his post-match reaction to the call, describing it as ‘clear cut’ and defending Raynal.

“They were delaying the kick. He said time off,” Foster said in his media conference.

“He warned him then he said time off and then he said to speed up then he said time on. Then he asked him twice to kick it.

“I understand there is a contentious nature about it but it was very clear cut from the opposition.”

Ian Foster saying in his post-match presser that the decision by French referee Mathieu Raynal was “clear cut” is an absolute disgrace.


— Christy Doran (@ChristypDoran) September 15, 2022

However, not all the criticism was directed at Raynal’s decision. Many took to social media to defend the call, instead laying blame on Bernard Foley for taking too long to kick.

We can bag the referee for that decision against @wallabies but just watch this replay and look at the teammates YELLING at Foley to hurry up and kick the ball #AUSvNZ @StanSportRugby
The decision was ridiculous but ….

— Bernie Coen (@berniecoen) September 15, 2022

Or you could stop messing about and kick it out when told ( including by your own team ) ????????‍

— Jared Cookson (@Cookie_54) September 15, 2022

Actually a decent call in my opinion from Mathieu Raynal to penalise the time wasting of Bernard Foley. What a finish to the game! The Aussies will be raging though! #AUSvNZ

— Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) September 15, 2022

Anything that cuts out the blight of time-wasting is good for rugby as a spectacle, but this has to be a proper precedent and not a one-off. Seeing other Wallaby players screaming at Foley to kick was telling… #AUSvNZL

— Chris Foy (@FoyChris) September 15, 2022

But watch teammates yelling at Foley to hurry up and kick the ball #AUSvNZ

— Bernie Coen (@berniecoen) September 15, 2022

Having watched it back, I’m with Raynal.

He tells Foley to get on with it twice, then stops the clock, tells him at least twice more to play on, restarts the clock, tells him again to play, before eventually turning it over.

During that time, Australia killed 40 seconds.

— Neil Treacy (@neil_treacy) September 15, 2022

The whole Raynal incident, from award of Penalty to Australia Scrum to New Zealand for Foley’s Time-Wasting.

Brave, correct and necessary call, in this game and for Rugby itself.

If you listen to what Raynal is saying to Foley throughout, clearly justified.#AUSvNZL

— Stephen Wall (@StephenWall1985) September 15, 2022

Praise also came for Raynal’s boldness in making such a massive decision in the last minute, with the call described as ‘brilliant’ and ‘ballsy’.

I don’t know how legal all that was but I admire Raynal making two big calls in a row ???????? Anglophone refs would’ve definitely swallowed the whistle

— Thala Msutu (@ThalaMsutu77) September 15, 2022

Brilliant, ballsy call from Raynal.

Step back from this match: that will teach teams everywhere not to waste time, which is the scourge of the game.

Sets a precedent that we should all admire him for.#AUSvNZ

— Stephen Wall (@StephenWall1985) September 15, 2022

Mathieu Raynal warned the Wallabies four times before blowing the whistle – four times.

You might disagree with the decision but Raynal gave the Wallabies every chance to kick the ball out and they failed to follow the one cardinal rule of the game: play to the referee. #AUSvNZL

— Tom Vinicombe (@TomVinicombe) September 15, 2022

In the 37th minute, Mathieu Raynal warned Bernard Foley for exactly the same thing at a goal-line drop-out.

And he gave him plenty of warnings here, too. This was anything but a rug-from-under-the-feet call.#AUSvNZL

— Charles Richardson (@CERichardson_) September 15, 2022

Raynal blew the whistle twice for time on.

The 11 seconds is from the second whistle to the whistle for a free kick to NZ.

— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) September 15, 2022

You can’t blame the ref on the Foley call when all his Wallabies teammates were shouting for him to kick it too. #AUSvNZ

— Ben McKay (@benmackey) September 15, 2022

Whatever side of the debate you’re on, perhaps the only universally agreed truth out of the match was the shame that such a brilliant match – without doubt one of the finest Bledisloe Cup clashes in many a year – could be so completely overshadowed by the controversy of the final moments.

The other saddest part of all of this is that this match was genuinely one of the closest Bledisloe games in years. Up there with Dunedin 2017, Sydney 2000. But we’re not.
All both fans will be talking about is that freaking call. And that is sad. #AUSvNZL #BledisloeCup

— Nick Wasiliev (@Nick_Wasiliev) September 15, 2022


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