ABs demanding answers from World Rugby over refereeing in RWC final

The All Blacks are requesting explanations from World Rugby regarding several controversial referee decisions made during their heartbreaking Rugby World Cup final defeat to the Springboks.

Arriving at Auckland Airport on Wednesday afternoon to a rousing welcome from supporters, departing coach Ian Foster disclosed that one of his final actions as head of the team was to submit a letter to the governing body detailing a number of perceived injustices in the team’s 12-11 (NZ time) loss to Paris last Sunday.

The main topic of conversation following the thrilling match at the Stade de France was the referees, as Wayne Barnes and fellow Englishman Tom Foley in the TMO box drew harsh criticism for their handling of the match.

Foster responded, “It probably won’t be officially, it certainly will be by me and our coaching group,” when asked if the team had or would bother to review the game given there was no next week and that several players and the majority of the coaching staff wouldn’t be playing for the national team the following year. Foster then revealed they had vented their frustrations to the game’s powerbrokers.

He stated, “We’ve already sent a file to World Rugby for them to provide some feedback on.” “Perhaps they do,”

Foster declined to provide further details when asked about the specific areas he was referring to.

He said, “Oh, I think you can guess.”

Although not the main cause of Foster’s annoyance, the red card given to All Blacks captain Sam Cane and the yellow card given to Springboks captain Siya Kolisi for their respective high tackles were clearly points of contention.

The disallowed try for Aaron Smith, the Barnes apology to Ardie Savea for an incorrect ruck penalty that still allowed Handre Pollard to kick a penalty goal, and Faf de Klerk’s failure to feed a late scrum that the All Blacks appeared to dominate also went unpunished are more likely to have been at the center of this. Foley also may have been involved.

It’s ironic that All Blacks assistant coach Joe Schmidt served on World Rugby’s high performance rugby committee and laws review group prior to joining the team last year.

Following Eddie Jones’ resignation in the wake of his disastrous World Cup campaign, Foster was keeping quiet about any considerations for the vacant Wallabies position.

Rugby Australia CEO Phil Waugh told the media on Tuesday that “everyone’s a candidate” as the organization looks for the best coach for their struggling national team. Foster clarified that he hasn’t already received inquiries from across the pond.

He declared, “I’ve been on a plane for 24 hours,” adding that he couldn’t even be reached via the onboard wifi.

He joked, “Look, I’m old-school; I don’t know how to use that.” “To be honest, turning off the phone was a nice relief. I actually like switching off.”

Would he consider it, though, and potentially follow in the footsteps of fellow New Zealanders Robbie Deans (2008-2013) and Dave Rennie (2020-2023)?

“Look, I’ve just got home,” Foster said. “I’ve literally got through there, I haven’t slept much for a day, and I’m looking forward to going home and then just re-evaluating.”


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