Continuing anger in South Africa over loss to Wallabies

By NZ Herald staff

New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence. Photo / Bay of Plenty Times
New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence. Photo / Bay of Plenty Times

There are ongoing ructions in South Africa over the refereeing of their Rugby World Cup quarter final shock loss to the Wallabies.

Many South Africans are blaming referee Bryce Lawrence for the World champion's shock exit, adding their voices to criticism by referees' boss Andre Watson and captain John Smit.

On his return to South Africa retiring skipper Smit said "the one positive [of retirement] is that I won't ever have to be reffed by him again".

Watson believed Lawrence would never control a Rugby World Cup again in light of his performance saying "he didn't referee the breakdown" and would be severely admonished by the IRB.

"His opening game (at the World Cup) was outstanding. I had no problem with his appointment," he told 567 Cape Talk Radio.

"But he allowed a free-for-all.

"It's not what you would expect from a referee of his calibre - he didn't referee the breakdown the way he was supposed to. He just didn't step in."

Over 60,000 rugby fans have backed a Facebook page called "Petition To Stop Bryce Lawrence Ever Reffing A Rugby Game Again".

Comments left by the participants ranged from the gracious to the vile.

"What we mustn't do is demonise New Zealand - remember how awesome it was to win at home - Bryce Lawrence is just one man!" wrote Louise Vickers.

"New Zealand have been through a lot - earthquakes and now oil leaks - let's support our Southern Hemisphere brothers regardless of Bryce Lawrence!"

Some were hopeful their petition could convince the International Rugby Board to stage a rematch of the quarter-finals match.

"The Boks deserve a rematch!" said Kim-Leigh Kristen Davids. "WE DEMAND A REMATCH! We can beat da Aussies in our sleep!! (without Bryce Lawrence as the ref)."

- NZ Herald

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