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By Lee Stace

NOW THIS scribe is probably running the risk of incurring the wrath of fellow New Zealanders – and maybe the odd Welsh supporter, too – when he says this, but it is wrong to blame Wayne Barnes for what went down during the South Africa v Wales game last Sunday.

If anyone should be blamed, it should be assistant referees Vinny Munro and George Clancy.

Kiwis have it in for Barnes. They have done since his error-ridden performance contributed to the All Blacks’ quarter-final loss to France in Cardiff four years ago. He is about as popular in New Zealand as a right-wing politician fronting a hall full of disgruntled union members.

The English whistler got things wrong that day at Millennium Stadium. There is no doubt about it.

But the James Hook penalty that never was against the Boks in the capital is not his fault.

Instead it’s Munro – who ruled the kicked went over the top of the right-hand upright – and Clancy that need to take responsibility.

Being behind the posts, they were in a better position to make a call than Barnes was. If they had any doubt about the strike, they should have told Barnes to refer it to the television match official.

Barnes was relying on his two assistants to make a call. They let him down badly and, as a result, he is now copping a barrage of unfair criticism.

It’s easy to blame him given his past track record, but at the end of the day he is a good referee. New Zealanders should not let the past cloud their judgment when reviewing his performances.

It’s time to move on, people.

Posted Comments

Dean
For all the whinges out there. The correct decision was made. The assistants stood under the posts and could see the path of the ball. From the camera's point of view, we saw the direction, but not the line where the ball would have struck the post. Get over it, just as the boks had to get over some very dodgy calls by the ref.
Gareth Edward
Welsh kicking was just pathetic on the day. That kick nearly didn't hit the upright. If it were lower we could have all seen it hit the upright. Highly accurate for sure. No problem with the AR, Wales snapped defeat from the jaws of victory. No kicks no win - nuf said.
Rich
If anyone should be complaining about Barnes' refereeing, it's the Springboks. The Welsh try came from a forward pass that Barnes' either missed or chose to ignore (not much changes from 2007 then...), and the Welsh were given the benefit of the doubt in a huge way at the breakdowns. As for the penalty kick - I can believe that one Assistant ref could make a mistake. But there were two - and both ruled it missed. Are you claiming both were wrong? If anyone was in a poor position to judge, it's the TV cameraman who's view we saw.
TAC67
Loads of reasons why teams lose - weak tackling, changed teams, missed drop goals, poor kicking from hand, players cheating. Poor reffing well down the list. Mainly, it's because one set of players is better during the game as a whole. After all, you earn the win not deserve it.
dodger
what a bonehead. no excuse for getting that wrong. he shouldnt be reffing if he cant see properly!
Francis
Doesnt matter if the AR's got it wrong- the decision stands as does the result. But the Welsh are right to feel aggrieved just as we were in the last World Cup. But really are we so pathetic we are still harping on about Wayne Barnes- geez thought we Kiwis were bigger than that!
Peter
Agree with Stephen Yetman that Barnes lets anything go, thus is a poor ref. He does not police sealing off the ball at rucks; illegally taking out players ~ you're meant to be bound to someone if you want to "blow out" an opposition player.
Geoff Longley
A sh*t decision from the assistant referees.
StevenF
I feel for Wales. Its the one tourney where you really dont want to lose by a sh!te decision and they did.
Earl Rose
Samoa to take out Wales which results them to a early exit.....Watch this space....oh snap!
Cattledog
When a ball is turning, you need to be directly beneath the upright to adjudge whether it went inside, against, or outside the line of the upright. The LH post AR had to move to the RH post as the other AR was well behind the posts at this stage. By the time the AR got to this post and positioned himself, he was in no position to have seen the flight of the ball and whether the ball would have rebounded between the posts, had it hit an upright. A difficult one for the TMO as well. Poor positioning.
Stephen Yetman
Of course New Zealanders have got it in for Barnes, maybe if he had apologised for what happened four years ago it may be different. I happen to think if Andrew Mehtrens who probably knows the rule book better than Barnes say he is a poor ref he is. He cost the All Blacks in Brisbane as well, when he can't seem to keep up with the play and just lets anything go. I hope that he doesn't get to ref the All Blacks at the World Cup because he just can't keep up and stands in the defence's way.
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