Monday, 8 October 2007

Growing pains

It looks very much like the New Zealand public have decided that the All Blacks' defeat to France on Saturday had little to do with the below-par performance of their team or the grit and determination of the French, but is, instead, all the fault of English referee Wayne Barnes, so much so that a number of deranged All Blacks' fans have allegedly put a NZ$ 1000 bounty on his head.

When watching the match I didn't for one moment think that the nonsense spouting forth from the lips of Murray Mexted was anything other than just the one-eyed rantings of one man. Little did I realise that All Blacks' supporters in general were all suffering from the same ailment.

The principal complaints are, it appears:

  1. That Barnes gave Luke McAlister a yellow card for deliberately blocking the run of Jauzion when the latter was attemptng to reach a chip ahead and, perhaps, score a try. Last time I looked it was illegal to block, especially so blatently, athough admittedly the likes of Jerry Collins has been doing it for years without sanction so perhaps the All Blacks thought it was now allowed;

  2. That Barnes missed a forward pass from Traille to Michalak in the build up to France's second try. I admit the pass looked forward but then again so did the pass from Carter to McAlister for New Zealand's first try and, in any event, I was under the impression that forward passes in the Super 14 and Tri-Nations were pretty much endemnic and that Southern Hemispere referees no longer concerned themselves with such trifles; and

  3. That Barnes had the temerity to penalise Richie McCaw on more than one occasion for playing the ball while off his feet at the breakdown. Hmmm, let's face it, it's probably about time. Don't get me wrong, McCaw is a fantastic player who usually gets away with murder at the breakdown, something for which I admire him greatly. On this occasion however he was spotted and pinged - them's the breaks!

Even if Barnes did get these decisions wrong (and, from where I was sitting, only the forward pass argument is valid), that's what happens in knockout rugby and it's up to the players to deal with it. I'm with IRB referee supremo Paddy O'Brien who says his fellow New Zealanders should stop blaming the referee and should "grow up".

Good to see then that certain Kiwis have, amidst the mourning and recriminations, managed to retain a sense of humour, the following appearing on New Zealand auction site Trade Me:


Pascal said...

Destroying the Haka was just the beginning. Chabal is now after Wilkinson :

Wayne Barnes said...

I just like to say i am a cock