"I thought the referee actually had a decent game," said IRB referees boss Paddy O'Brien of Wayne Barnes' handling of the infamous quarter-final in Cardiff - O'Brien being the man who waved France past Fiji in 1999.

France's second-half comeback in 2007 was stirring fare for the neutrals, a talent-stacked All Black squad arrived for their first knockout match with key selections still unsettled. From 13-3 up at halftime, they slumped to 20-18. There were three key aspects to the referee's performance which tipped the shaky All Blacks off balance.

First, Barnes ruled that Luke McAlister had blocked a kick-chaser's run and flashed a yellow card. Later he missed a forward pass that led directly to Yannick Jauzion's decisive try.

In the final quarter, Barnes signed off by missing a host of apparent ruck indiscretions by the French, who threw bodies at any part of the breakdown to halt the All Blacks' momentum.

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McAlister's card for running shoulder to shoulder with a diving Frenchman was harsh, but he invited the yellow. When the forward pass came, play had broken rapidly upfield, leaving Barnes directly behind the action. Not many refs would spot a short forward pass from behind, but touch judge Jonathan Kaplan was well placed and should have called it.

All Black supporters felt the French infringed at many second-half rucks, but not a single ruck penalty was given against them. The reaction in New Zealand was strong, to put it mildly.

2003
Video: Great World Cup moments - 2003

How we won it: England - A bloody-minded band of brothers

Setting the scene: Mitchell at the helm as England rises

Tournament action: Four more years - the tournament goes on

Tournament star: Martin Johnson - Hard leader of the pack

ABs memories: 'Danger of World Cups is they mean so much'
2007
Video:Great World Cup moments - 2003

How we won it: South Africa - Python applies squeeze

Setting the scene: Henry gets his (first) go at the title
Ref's contentious calls leave nation seething

Tournament action: Boks hold nerve in a Cup of big upsets

Tournament star: Agustin Pichot - Skipper who shamed IRB

ABs memories: 'It was like slow strangulation'
2011
Looking ahead:High stakes in road to redemption
Hold heads high whatever the result
World Cup highlights
The greatest upsets
The greatest RWC tries