Rugby's 10 worst refereeing howlers

By Steve Deane

A familiar face will be tooting the whistle in the All Blacks test against Scotland on Sunday morning. Wayne Barnes' shocker in Cardiff last yearmay have broken Kiwi hearts, but it was really just one of many in history's ignoble tapestry of rugby refereeing howlers, writes Steve Deane

1 1905 - The Bob Deans 'try'

After beating Scotland (12-7), Ireland (15-0) and England (15-0) the All Blacks were in sight of the Grand Slam in what was their first official tour of Europe.

A try by left wing Teddy Morgan put Wales 3-0 up at Cardiff Arms Park. Late in the game Bob Deans appeared to have scored a try that would have given the All Blacks the chance to win the game with a conversion. But by the time referee John Dallas arrived on the scene, Deans had been pulled back into the field of the play and Dallas ruled that he had been tackled short of the line.

Deans was so incensed by the decision he sent the following telegram to the Daily Mail: "Grounded ball six inches over line. Some of Welsh players admit try, Hunter and Glasgow can confirm was pulled back by Welshmen before referee arrived - Deans."

Deans, who died at just 24 from complications following appendix surgery, is said to have exclaimed on his death bed: "I did score that try in Cardiff."

2 Wayne Barnes' 'decent game' at the 2007 World Cup

"I think it's a disgrace and people have to grow up," said IRB referees boss Paddy O'Brien after New Zealanders suggested the young English referee may have stuffed up in the All Blacks' shock quarter-final loss in Cardiff.

While devastated All Blacks fans obsessed about the missed forward pass that led to the French winning try, the over-the-top sin-binning of Luke McAlister and the 18 missed French infringements in the second half, O'Brien was having none of it.

"I thought the referee actually had a decent game," O'Brien opined.

Which rather begs the question: Just what does a bad Barnes performance performance look like? Roll on Sunday morning.

3 Paddy blows the whistle

on Fiji - 1999 World CupWayne Barnes fan Paddy O'Brien was once a fairly ordinary referee himself, which perhaps explains his fondness for his hopeless protege.

Paddy's darkest hour came at the 1999 World Cup when he railroaded the brave Fijians with a display so one-sided it may never be matched. Despite clearly being the better side on the day, the Fijians could do nothing right.

Despite fullback Alfred Uluinayau having a first-half try ruled out for a non-existent knock on, Fiji managed to claw their way to a 19-13 lead with just 10 minutes remaining. O'Brien, however, came to the rescue of the French, awarding them a penalty try from a scrum close to the Fiji line despite it being the French who clearly offended in the scrum.

"I thought Paddy had a great game," a young Wayne Barnes is believed to have said to his dad shortly after the game.

4 The ball was out, ref. Otago v Auckland 1995

Having lost the 1992 and 1993 finals, Otago were on the verge of redemption in the 1995 NPC final against Auckland at Eden Park. Tries to Jeff Wilson and Paul Cooke meant Otago were clinging to a 19-16 lead with two minutes on the clock. A bungled defensive scrum gave Auckland the feed to a re-set five-metre scrum from the Otago line and, with Zinzan Brooke trapping the ball at his feet, the Aucklanders went for the push. Otago's shove was solid enough and the scrum crabbed sideways before halfback Stu Forster kicked at a ball he believed was out. It probably wasn't, but Colin Hawke's decision to award the penalty try was still questionable given the Auckland scrum's lack of forward momentum. That Hawke had been the referee who penalised David Latta in injury time the season before, allowing Andrew Mehrtens to kick a Ranfurly Shield-saving penalty, only served to underline his despised status in Otago folklore.

5 Crowe saves the All Blacks - 1968

The All Blacks were riding a 33-match winning streak heading into the second Bledisloe Cup test against the Wallabies in Brisbane. With the clock ticking down and Australia leading 18-14, that streak seemed likely to be broken. But the All Blacks mounted a late raid, with centre Bill Davis taking a gap and kicking ahead into the Wallaby in-goal. When Davis was tackled in the act of kicking the ball local whistler Kevin Crowe had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try. The decision was one "with which many of the local supporters did not agree", reports the hallowed tome Men In Black. Fullback Fergie McCormick's conversion gave the All Blacks a 19-18 victory.

6 Derek Bevan earns his gold watch - 1995 World Cup

The Rainbow Nation's march to World Cup glory looked to be sinking into the Durban mud when Abdul Benazzi slithered across the line late in the monsoon semifinal. The big man clearly scored but Welsh referee Derek Bevan inexplicably refused to award the try and the Springboks clung on for a 19-15 victory. Bevan received his reward at a banquet to mark the Springboks' eventual triumph.

"There were no true world champions in the 1987 and 1991 World Cups because South Africa were not there," South African rugby supremo Louis Luyt declared, prompting a walkout by the New Zealand, French and English players. Luyt then provoked an exodus of tournament officials by trying to present a valuable gold watch to a ref he called the "most wonderful in the world".

"It was something I could have done without," Bevan said later. "It could be misconstrued."

7 The hand of plod - Heineken Cup final, Cardiff 2002

With the clock ticking off the final moments of the 2002 European club showpiece, Munster required a converted try to overturn Leicester's 15-9 lead.

A scrum deep inside Leicester's 22 was to be the Irish side's last throw of the dice but, with French referee Joel Jutge checking his nails, Tigers flanker Neil Back swatted the ball from Munster halfback Peter Stringer's hands.

"I did what I had to do to ensure a win for Leicester," an unrepentant Back later said of his blatant cheating.

"I am not a cheat and I would be very upset if anyone accused me of being one."

Oops.

8 Haden's dive - Cardiff, 1978

New Zealand were trailing Wales 10-12 when lock Andy Haden flew theatrically out of a lineout in the dying minutes in an effort to claim a penalty. Referee Roger Quittenton awarded the penalty Haden was after and Brian McKechnie duly kicked the winning points.

All, however, was not as it seemed, with Quittenton actually penalising Welsh lock Geoff Wheel for pushing Frank Oliver.

"The Welsh see that as the reason they lost," All Blacks captain Graham Mourie recalled. "Roger Quittenton said he hadn't even seen it. He was standing on the other side of the lineout at the front of the lineout."

9 Kaplan's watch - Wellington, 2000

Having won a 39-35 thriller in Sydney, Todd Blackadder's All Blacks were in sight of recapturing the Bledisloe Cup in the return match in Wellington. With the All Blacks clinging to a 23-21 lead and regulation time having expired, Kaplan held up two fingers and said the word "two", seemingly indicating that two minutes of play remained. His watched must have stopped, though, as two bungled All Blacks lineouts on their own throw, a Craig Dowd infringement and seven minutes later John Eales landed the match-winning penalty that defined his career.

10 ABs tour - 1976

Gert Bezuidenhout took the bent refereeing common between Boks and All Blacks of the day to new heights. The Transvaal whistler ran the last three tests in 1976, doing a job that would have had Louis Luyt clearing out a whole jewellry store in appreciation. The Bok frontrow got away with murder, Sid Going wasn't allowed to take a shot at goal after the ball fell over as he placed it and he denied the All Blacks a penalty try when Bruce Robertson was taken out.

- NZ Herald

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