There were 20 nations and now there are only 4 left. The 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup kicked off in the 2nd week of September in New Zealand. There was no doubt in my mind that the 8 teams that made it into the Quarter Final stage of the tournament were the best teams. For those of you who don’t watch rugby or have been living under a rock for the past 3 weeks: South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Wales, Ireland, France and England made it into the Quarter Final stage of the tournament.
The Quarter Final matches were played over this past weekend. In the end, Australia, New Zealand, France and Wales made it through. Wales beat Ireland, France beat England, New Zealand beat Argentina and Australia beat South Africa by 11 points to 9. Some supporters on Twitter were referring to this match as South Africa’s 9/11. Unfortunately I was nowhere near a TV set on Sunday morning. I followed the match between South Africa and Australia via Twitter whilst recovering from a hang over. I’m kinda glad that I didn’t watch the match because I’m dead sure that I would be cursing uncontrollably at the TV set. The tweets that were coming through contained much hostility for New Zealand Referee Bryce Lawrence.
One could argue that the Springboks should have scored a try in the match (which would’ve changed the result completely in my humble opinion). They controlled the possession and territory in the match, but failed to score a try. But I’m going to blame the referee for his poor decisions (yes, I’m jumping on the band wagon). I base this on the tweets that I read on Sunday morning and I agree 100% with article in the Telegraph written by Mark Reason: “The South Africans thought that the tackler would have to release the ball carrier. They thought that the offside line would be respected. They thought that men would have to stay on the feet. Instead it was a complete shambles.”.
The outgoing Springbok Captain, John Smit had this to say on his arrival in South Africa: “Bryce is not difficult to communicate with, he just doesn’t seem to listen very well. The one positive is that I won’t ever have to be reffed by him again,”
A Facebook page entitled Petition To Stop Bryce Lawrence Ever Reffing A Rugby Game Again was created yesterday. When I left the office yesterday, the page had gained about 18,000 fans. The fan page now has more than 42,000 fans. It seems that South African supporters are upset about the way the way the match was handled and the fact that David Pocock (the Aussie open side flanker) was given the Man of the Match award (despite the fact that he got away with murder). Earlier today the IRB announced that there will be no action action against Lawrence. “We don’t comment on individual refereeing performances,” a spokesperson for the IRB said earlier today.
I think this is an epic fail on the IRB’s side. There has been a huge public outcry about Bryce Lawrence’s decisions in the match. Some even argue that this was a conspiracy to get New Zealand into a IRB Rugby World Cup final for the first time since 1995 (although I don’t agree with that). I just think Bryce Lawrence was being an ass, plain and simple.
This weekend the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup Semi Final matches will be played on Saturday and Sunday. Wales will play against France on Saturday and New Zealand will play against Australia. A South African referee, Craig Joubert will be in charge of the match between Australia and New Zealand. I’m hoping that the final will be played between France and New Zealand (a repeat of the 1987 Rugby World Cup final).
What are your thoughts on all of the topics I’ve covered in this post? Please comment on this post and let the readers of Running Wolf’s Rant know. Feedback is appreciated and welcome. Watch this space for regular updates in the Sport category.