The refereeing blunder that cost Gatland a rare win
REACTION: New Zealand referees boss Bryce Lawrence admitted that the match officials got it wrong when they disallowed Damian McKenzie’s try in the Chiefs’ thrilling loss to the Highlanders in Hamilton on Sunday.
With the Chiefs leading 31-19 in the 65th minute, McKenzie ran in for a spectacular try only for the TMO to rule that Chiefs flyhalf Kaleb Trask was offside in the build-up to the try.
However, Lawrence said the offside play was outside the two phases allowed to go back for a TMO decision.
“Right decision but wrong process,” Lawrence tells Newshub.
“I think everybody who understands rugby realises it was the right outcome, but you’re only allowed to go back as far as two rucks or two phases.
“In that instance, we had three very quick rucks before Damian [McKenzie] scored.
“In all honesty, we’ll be having a good discussion around that because my preference would be that we stick within the protocol, and the protocol is two phases.”
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Lawrence believes time played a big factor in the decision.
“[The TMO] didn’t deliberately go outside protocol, they just didn’t have time to go and check that it was three phases and not two,” he added.
The decision proved costly as the Highlanders scored two late tries to record a 33-31 win.
“I’m not unhappy about that, but if he’s going to do that, then make the ruling [on two phases],” Chiefs coach Warren Gatland told media after the match.
“Because you could be in a situation with another game where the referee turns and says ‘No, that’s too far back’.
“You could argue you could have just played on and said that’s a try. We just need to make sure we have some consistency.”
After six round of competition, the Chiefs are still without a win in Super Rugby Aotearoa.