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Speaker: It's the recrimination I don't need …

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  • Andy Milne,

    why can't you acknowledge that the referee's performance also had a significant impact on the result?

    Look, I don't want for a minute to come off as a cheerleader for Wayne Barnes. Clearly some of his decisions were marginal at best (yellow card) or very liberal (offside? What's that?) but at least in the latter area he was consistent. I don't mind conceding that it wasn't a brilliant performance from him.

    But referees ALWAYS have a significant outcome on the result. You'll recall that the game we are discussing is rugby union, a game with more laws than many developed nations, and even more possible interpretations. Sometimes the refs get it right, sometimes not so much. Arguments along the lines of "these are professional referees, paid to get it right" are just nonsense. How many other professionals do you know who don't make mistakes? You'll never take the human element out of the officiating unless you have the game refereed by robots. (Tangent: or PLAYED by robots too! Now that would be cool...)

    My point, and I do have one, is that the ABs had only themselves (and a passionate french team) to blame for the loss. To blame Barnes for the final try is to excuse the weak tackling that allowed the pass to be made in the first place. To blame Barnes for not penalising the persistent French offending at the fringes of the ruck is to ignore the fact that the ABs never changed their tactics when it should have been obvious that the hit-ups weren't working.

    I guess what annoys me most about the post-mortem of any major ABs defeat is that, miraculously, its almost NEVER the because they were out-thought or outplayed by a better team. If only the ref hadn't been blind/inexperienced/biased, then the All Blacks would have won. Well, bollocks. The French won and should be congratulated. Simple as that.

    And Warwick, had the French been on the wrong end of a dodgy call that ultimately cost them the game, would you be here bleating about how they'd been stitched up? No of course not, because clearly, the "best team" would have won.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 58 posts Report Reply

  • Andy Milne,

    Obviously, the first sentence of para 2 should read "significant impact on the result" or possiblly "significant impact on the outcome". I don't really remember what I meant to say actually, hard to type and watch Flight of the Conchords at the same time.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 58 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Here's an amazing clip from the scene of the giant rugby ball in Paris

    Hey, cool - Madeleine Sami makes an appearance in it and offers some words of wisdom.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1861 posts Report Reply

  • Warwick Eade,

    Andy,

    As I’ve previously posted (you must have missed it), in ’99 and ’03, the ABs we were beaten by better teams on the day as they have been before and will be again.

    But none of the apologists today will offer anyone who had a greater influence on the result than Wayne Barry and to these people it seems it is NEVER the referee but rather some mythical perfect game the All Blacks should have gone to.

    Your casual dismissal of the abysmal calls that lead to both French tries and Barry’s wholesale refusal to referee one of the most basic laws of game leads me to ask – how bad does it have to get before you would consider the referee to be the cause of the loss? I suspect never which is your prerogative.

    What isn’t OK is to try and invent the fiction that there was anything the All Blacks could have done about it except be 30 points better than the French rather than just the 20 points better that they were.

    Auckland. NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Oh and also slightly off topic, but am I the only person who was shocked to see tears in Dan Carter's eyes when he came off?

    No - then again, I've never really been moved by Dan Carter's eyes. They're certainly not his primary profit center.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    For what little it is worth –

    I’m sad the AB’s went out, I didn’t lose any money, but I really did think they were good enough to pull it off (unlike abysmal Wales). I am however quite excited by the prospect of a French team who appears cannot be bullied. There may be some good matches to come. Ermmm I was surprised to have to do what amounted to post-match group therapy this morning.

    If you want to sack someone, get rid of the board for a change – I don’t think there is a finer coach in NZ than GH. He has on the basis of previous results, earned the right to learn from his mistakes, what he brings to NZ rugby will filter down and will improve the game. That said, if we could coax him into coming back to Cardiff………<sucks teeth>

    From what I know and have seen of Gilbert Enoka you would be hard pushed to find a better Mental Skills Practitioner (does that title sound lame ?). For the witch hunt try the physio table first, where perfectly good psychology turns into utter f*c*ery in minutes; thanks to the advice of the all knowing and powerful physio.

    Want to change something ? Change the Super14 so that it prepares players more effectively for championship rugby. The next world cup will not come here until S14 does change. Then go looking for lost talent that is draining out of the sport. Windows of opportunity to play at the higher levels are too limited and my observations lead me to suggest that players are leaving the sport long before they have delivered their best. NZRFU should be concerned by a system that is devoted more to the selection and isolation of talent than for the development and retention of talent.

    On the matter of referees and being mean spirited I leave you with this:

    Anyway, having thought that I wouldn't mind seeing the All Blacks dick the Lions 3-0, I found myself feeling a little bit let down by the sheer lameness of the Lions effort on Saturday night. It has, however, been fascinating since, seeing the Lions' spin machine swing into action, with Clive Woodward's multimedia demonstrations of the "spear tackle" that dislocated Brian O'Driscoll's shoulder. I have watched the incident several times: O'Driscoll was picked up and dumped after wandering through a ruck in the first minute of the match. But I couldn't see a spear tackle - and neither, apparently, could the citing commissioner.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 727 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    So that'd be the sort of "hugely significant" event where no one scored or was penalised or got injured and the ball didn't change hands?

    Russell,

    The penalty was in the play immediately following Carter’s cross-kick. That meant France went into the shed with their tails up; they have said after the match how important that was.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    "...I am so glad your anally retentive, hopelessly retarded, minimalist emotional palette is rejected by rugby heroes such as Dan Carter..."

    How about I react in kind and tell you to fuck off you gaybo hippy prick? :)

    Or how about we accept some people have different values around what constitutes strong male behaviour and leave the personal abuse out? Nothing so intolerant as a Greenie questioned, eh? Sure you were paying attention to the message when the family violence ad was on?

    Jeremy - I am not saying he shouldn't have had a good cry, its just I know that for me my sense of male dignity would keep it for somewhere private.

    Anyway - this whole Barnes business, it was clear on morning report today that Jock Hobbs is furious about his appointment and his decisions. And I note that at the beginning of the tournament the IRB told the coaches of all the teams that touch judges would not be allowed to rule on offside and forward passes at this tournament. So poor young Mr. Barnes was not only well out of his depth, he was largely denied the help of the much more experienced referees (Spreadbury and Kaplan I think) running the touchline. Taken with the IRB "crackdown" on foul play they announced immediately before the tournament it points to a scarcely credible general incompetence on the part of the IRB. Why was it they waited until the world cup itself to make significant (and in my view retrograde) changes to how games are officiated?? Paddy O'Brien, who now lives in Dublin and appears to be littel more than mouthpiece for the IRB, has made some seriously wrong decisions. You know, the more I think about it, the more angry I feel at Paddy O'Brien and more sorry I feel for Mr. Barnes. A young refereeing lion sacrificed by an IRB donkey.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1810 posts Report Reply

  • Bob Munro,

    Gregor Paul alerts us again of the fundamental changes to the game which seems to be fast approaching.

    Before we sink Ted and all who float with him shouldn’t we examine this issue for what it might mean? I for one think it means the promotion of the very skill set and attacking policy that the All Blacks have been pursuing. And believe it or not it is an attempt to make refereeing decisions more transparent.

    The philisophical background can be found in this ABC interview from May 2006 and the rules them selves on Wikipedia.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 418 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy Southgate,

    "(offside? What's that?) but at least in the latter area he was consistent"

    I had to stop lurking just to respond to this, because I have been waiting for someone to say it since Sunday.

    Surely consistency in his offside rulings cannot be measured due to the large imabalance in possession? Don't forget one of the crucial stats in analysing the game is France's 180-odd tackles to 30-odd (I think that's about the right ratio).

    It seems then, that the All Blacks would have had very few chances to actually be offside, Barnes' rulings could only provide a real benefit to France in that area.

    Wellingtown • Since Nov 2006 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    Nothing so intolerant as a Greenie questioned, eh?

    Does this mean Dan is a Green ? Great, let's get him on some billboards at the next election; maybe we'll score Craig's vote :)

    Actually, I didn't see any ads after the game - too busy preparing for a scheduled retail therapy session. Unlike those poor guys at St Lukes that Russell saw, I was in for some focussed power shopping. Immersing yourself in seriously funky apparel does wonders for any sense of disappointment.

    I think you've raised some good points about the Barnes affair and the IRB's role. I feel sorry of Paddy O'Brien - his role is to support his refs, even the embattled Barnes. Can't be easy spinning this one.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 455 posts Report Reply

  • R Smith,

    I'm a little confused by the latest piece of comment from the fine writers at the Times:

    http://timesonline.typepad.com/rugby/2007/10/new-zealand-exi.html

    If the All Blacks were so unspeakably arrogant and such incredibly bad sports, what does that make England when this comes from the keyboard of one of their “leading rugby writers”? I would've thought that crowing over the defeat of an enemy would actually make you the bad sport...

    On the other hand, it is nice to read many of the comments that follow it, in which many overseas rugby fans show considerably more sportsmanship than the pros.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'm a little confused by the latest piece of comment from the fine writers at the Times:

    Wow. I thought I'd seen it all, but I think that's the nastiest piece of chip-on-the-shoulder slime I've ever seen under the byline of an alleged sports journalist. What a horrible little man.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18960 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    He actually makes some good points (Argentina, games in Apia, the Steve Devine cynicism, reneging on crowd guarantees at RWC2011 etc..)

    But quite what this has to do with Saturday’s game is beyond me.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    He actually makes some good points (Argentina, games in Apia, the Steve Devine cynicism, reneging on crowd guarantees at RWC2011 etc..)

    All points that could be, and have been, made without such unpleasant gloating though. It's weirdly hateful.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18960 posts Report Reply

  • insider outsider,

    The All Blacks put a lot of mana on the heritage of the fern and living up to and respecting its values etc

    Some fans could do well to remember that. Winging about the ref should not be a core value of NZ rugby

    nz • Since May 2007 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Leopold,

    First Suzy, now Barnes... we're great on the excuse department!
    C'mon, dodgy refereeing decisions happen all the time. And quite often to the all Blacks advantage. We'd have been the last to complain if the Frogs had received the yellow card by mistake.
    Accept it as part of sport and get over it - The only ones really suffering are the shareholders in TV3...
    Congratulations to the French
    There must be something else happening in the world??

    Since Jan 2007 • 147 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Barnes appears to be the new golden boy in English rugby, so presumably there was politics involved, but there's something badly wrong there.

    One thing I do remember was the incident in Wellington a few months ago where the French coach was witnessed haranguing the test match ref. and then telling him he would never referee an international again. I wonder how much access he had to the refs prior to this game.

    First Suzy, now Barnes... we're great on the excuse department!

    As I and many have said the ABs still should have been able to win. This was not the case on 1995 where players such as Goldie, were puking their guts out during the game.

    I think that bad refereeing is part of the game in the same way players play badly at times, but this took it to new lows. In 1995 the ref was awarded a gold watch by the SAs for his "performance". The French would do well to give Barnes a life size gold replica of the Eiffel tower.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Winging about the ref should not be a core value of NZ rugby

    Well put.

    BTW, when the highlights come on next, check out the pass from Carter to Luke leading up to our first try.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    Some fans could do well to remember that. Winging about the ref should not be a core value of NZ rugby

    The All Blacks, to their credit, have been gracious in defeat.

    I think people prefer to take responsibility for their own performance, if only because its more constructive to focus on what you can control.

    That said, I thought Barnes was more inclined to penalise All Black infringements (such as Richie McCaw's penalties (3?), All Black forward passes, and McAlister's obstruction) than French.

    My own view is that the All Black backline wasn't quite ready for primetime. I think Henry should stay, but Robbie Deans would make a good backline coach. Choosing a new second-five/centre pairing is going to be interesting.

    Since Nov 2006 • 598 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Various ...

    I think that bad refereeing is part of the game in the same way players play badly at times, but this took it to new lows. In 1995 the ref was awarded a gold watch by the SAs for his "performance". The French would do well to give Barnes a life size gold replica of the Eiffel tower.

    I think the thing that really made it out of the ordinary is that a rookie with one top-level test match under his belt before this World Cup was given such an important game. He blew it, and that's fairly heartbreaking.

    I expect when it all washes up we'll find out that the English union pressed for his inclusion: he's the golden boy of of the Heineken Championship. Meanwhile, poor old Paddy has to front for it.

    It's been announced he won't feature in any role in the remaining matches -- whistle, sideline or video adjudication -- but that's all a bit after the fact.

    BTW, when the highlights come on next, check out the pass from Carter to Luke leading up to our first try.

    Nope. We had some impartial South Africans scrutinise it, and they were unanimous: not forward. Good try though.

    Some fans could do well to remember that. Winging about the ref should not be a core value of NZ rugby

    Well, it isn't, is it? And it's silly to claim that it is simply because the referee's performance has been criticised.

    Yes, the All Blacks should have been the masters of their own destiny, and yes, referees make mistakes. But I'm really struggling to recall a situation where such an inexperienced referee has been sent to control such an important game, and then made such crucial blunders.

    What I am embarrassed about, however, is the morons who have vandalised Wikipedia in the past 48 hours -- up to and including criminal threats. In at least one case, a private school education doesn't seem to have taught one of the vandals any sense of decency.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18960 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Lol; where did you get hold of an impractical South African from RB?

    Agree with the wikipedia thing. On a tangent this accelerated promotion of Barnes is likely to have a very damaging effect on his career.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy Southgate,

    "Nope. We had some impartial South Africans scrutinise it, and they were unanimous: not forward. Good try though."

    Interesting stuff on forward passes:

    If I have time I might analyse the 2 passes in question with that enlightenment on the rules.

    Wellingtown • Since Nov 2006 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    But I'm really struggling to recall a situation where such an inexperienced referee has been sent to control such an important game

    As opposed to all those other ratshit games that didn't matter at all, because the All Blacks weren't involved? Not picking a fight, RB, but I don't think anyone came to the World Cup to fuck around, do you?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Interesting stuff on forward passes:

    Christ, you do need to be Einstein after all to understand this game.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

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