Agreement the ref cost the AB's
There is a long-standing tradition that you don't criticise referees. Yet there seems to be agreement among referees, the IRB and commentators that referee Wayne Barnes cost the All Blacks the chance of progressing into the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup - and possibly Graham Henry his coaching career with the ABs. I disagree and would point the finger at the IRB more so for appointing him to the game in the first place.
Barnes said just prior to the NZ/France game, “My aim for every game is to come off the pitch and have everyone not to mention me!"
Thats got to be the quote of the tournament.
Barnes, who refereed the match between the World Cup favourites and the Five Nations Champions, refereed his first test this year. Prior to the game, I don't think has ever refereed a test involving top ranked teams, one a southern hemisphere team. There was talk as to whether he was up to the job. IRB bosses now don't think Barnes is up to the job as they have annnounced that he will take no more part in the World Cup after being a favourite to referee the final..
When sport is about politics and money just as much - if not more so - than winning games, we should be using technology to overturn major indescretions that lead to points being scored that would not have been scored had the indescretion been noticed. We have the technology. We didn`t use it. The IRB is just as much to blame as the referee. This World Cup will be remembered for two things: the winner and Wayne Barnes. His career could well be over and that is not the way it should be.
The IRB has to take a serious look at itself as to how it runs future Rugby World Cups. For example, there's something wrong when the IRB instructs the linesman that they are not allowed to intervene when they spot someone offside, a forward pass or crooked lineout.
Also, in light of Barnes' inexperence, imagine if they picked nominees for the Rugby Board Player of the Year award - nominating Ritchie McCaw - with a bunch of guys with a handful of test caps.
update If you thought that Barnes pre match comment was bad, read this