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That time a Kiwi ref cheated the Boks

FLASHBACK: Refereeing mistakes are a common occurrence in rugby.


Referees are human and are not perfect, with the odd questionable call now and then in the game.

However, the Springboks have been victims of some very bad calls by referees in games over the years.

The one that stands out in is the Boks’ 2011 World Cup quarterfinal defeat to the Wallabies.

The man in charge of that match was Kiwi ref Bryce Lawrence, who allowed the Wallabies to get away with murder across the park, especially at the breakdown

The Springboks dominated possession and territory in that match, but they had several try-scoring opportunities scuppered by David Pocock and Co, who were not penalised for a string of infringements.

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Lawrence ignored the illegal tactics employed by the Wallabies at the breakdown which resulted in a controversial 11-9 win for the Aussie against what was the most experienced Springbok line-up in history – at the time.

Even the statistics prove that not all was right with Lawrence’s officiating.

According to Opta’s stats, “the Wallabies won 28 turnovers in their 2011 quarterfinal win over South Africa, the most by any team in a World Cup match”.

Below is a video of one person’s view of the game:


Lawrence received a lot of backlash from South Africans for his performance and he is still a controversial figure.

No one wants dodgy refereeing decisions to decide a big match like a World Cup play-off, but that us what happened in Wellington that day.

What is worrying for World Rugby is that the quality of refereeing around the world has not gotten any better and it is still one of the big problems standing in the way of the game becoming a truly global sport.

See below for some reactions below from some fans who were reminded of the Wallabies’ remarkable stats:

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