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Spoilt spectacle


  • 15 Sep 2013
The back page of the Weekend Argus The back page of the Weekend Argus

What rugby writers, in South Africa and New Zealand, had to say after the Test at Eden Park.

JON CARDINELLI (SARUGBYMAG.CO.ZA)
'Poite's decision was based on an overwhelming reaction from the partisan New Zealanders in the stands. The crowd wanted Du Plessis off, and Poite obliged. It was gutless, and one would think that Poite will have a lot to answer for when fronting his bosses next week.'

LIAM NAPIER (FAIRFAX MEDIA – NZ)
'The performance of French referee Romain Poite robbed the contest of its superstar status ... Fed on a diet of spinach-flavoured biltong, Du Plessis is Popeye in disguise. Naturally, when Carter received a hospital pass and the big Boks rake simultaneously, he crumbled into a heap and slinked from the field with an AC shoulder injury that will keep him out of action for four to six weeks. The subsequent decision to sin-bin du Plessis, though, was a shocker. It was a legal tackle. Arms were used. Sense should have prevailed.'

ZELIM NEL (INDEPENDENT GROUP – SA)
'The French referee allowed the crowd of 48,000 – and millions of TV viewers – to witness an even contest for just 32 minutes at Eden Park before reducing the crunch Rugby Championship Test to a sham ... Carter was buried in a tackle that was not only legal, but of rare, premium quality. The partisan crowd blew up in unfiltered outrage and convinced Poite to ignore repeated slow motion replays on the big screen that clearly showed the behemoth hooker had delivered a legal hit.'

GREGOR PAUL (HERALD ON SUNDAY – NZ)
'The red card was justified. The first offence was not a yellow – although what Bismarck du Plessis did with his head looked bad. But the second offence was a straight red. Seriously bad. The Boks need to cut that out – they are better than that.'

GAVIN RICH (WEEKEND ARGUS – SA)
'Referees these days appear to be far too quick to brandish cards, and they're having a massive impact on results ... No doubt rabid All Blacks supporters will be happy about what happened, but most sensible people from both sides will probably feel like I do – cheated. The All Blacks celebrations were surely rendered hollow by the knowledge that they were playing 15 against 14 for more than half the match, and if they watch the replay of the first Du Plessis incident, which the referee had a chance to do on the big screen, then they will know that he was sent off for a hard but textbook tackle.'

WYNNE GREY (NEW ZEALAND HERALD)
'The red card had a massive effect on the game. Adding to the significance of it all, Bismarck du Plessis was having an absolute stormer. There seemed to be two of him – he was all over the park but especially good in the tight stuff, winning a couple of crucial turnovers with his strength and timing. And he scored the Boks' first try.'

LOUIS DE VILLIERS (RAPPORT – SA)
'Pwat. Só spreek jy Romain Poite se naam uit; daai klank wat ’n skeidsregter se bakkies seker sou gee as jy ’n dwarsklap teen sy smoel plant. ’Skies, dis ongeskik. Maar dié Franse ploert se fluitjie was die uitstaande kenmerk van gister se Toets in Auckland tussen Nieu-Seeland en Suid-Afrika om die Rugby-kampioenskap, ene wat die tuisspan met 29-15 gewen het.'

CRAIG RAY (SUNDAY TIMES – SA)
'Actions have consequences and that decision [to give Du Plessis his first yellow card] had awful ramifications for the Boks later on. Poite's sub-standard officiating will also have ramifications for the rest of the tournament as the Boks are now four points behind the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship standings. But it will almost certainly have no consequences for Poite's refereeing career.'

DAN RETIEF (CITY PRESS – SA)
'Poite’s shocking rulings, especially in the first half, robbed the Boks of the massive presence of their hooker Bismarck du Plessis for 48 minutes of the match and completely spoiled what might have been a spectacle.'

Rugby fans were robbed, says former All Blacks captain

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