He could hardly do anything else when the television audience have seen the blunder, but Australian referee Angus Gardner has owned up to the mistake which cost the Wallabies dearly in the first Bledisloe Cup Test in Wellington.
Gardner, who will control Sunday’s second encounter at Eden Park, was the linesman who missed All Black centre Rieko Ioane nudging the touchline in the lead-up to Jordie Barrett’s try.
“It was just a genuine miss — sometimes it happens at that speed. Obviously I put my hand up for it,” Gardner told Gold AM’s Country Sport Breakfast.
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Replays clearly showed Ioane was out but the try stood as the All Blacks and Wallabies played out a drawn match.
Despite some backlash on social media, Gardner downplayed any pressure.
“We’re there to referee the game whether it’s the All Blacks or the Wallabies or Wellington or Otago or Chiefs versus Crusaders … our job’s just the game, it shouldn’t matter who the two teams are,” he said.
Angus Gardner looks on during the Bledisloe Cup match.Source:Getty Images
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Former Wallaby Matt Burke was furious at the officiating on Sunday, slamming referee Paul Williams.
“He has got to be off-side. Got to be off-side. Oh my goodness,“ Burke said after Hodge’s fateful kick.
“This refereeing has been terrible. Absolutely terrible. I can’t believe that Sam Whitelock was onside there. What about this shot.”
Staff writer at SA Rugby Magazine Dylan Jack tweeted: “Officials were dreadful in those final 10 minutes. Too scared to make the big call. There must have been about four penalties right in front of the All Blacks’ posts.”
Hoskins Sotutu and Rieko Ioane of the All Blacks.Source:Getty Images
While the opinion may be split depending on which side of the Tasman fans reside, there was plenty of attention on the penalty count throughout the game, which finished 14-7 in New Zealand’s favour.
It was the first time in 40 years a New Zealander had refereed a Bledisloe Cup match.
Williams and Ben O’Keeffe will be Gardner’s assistants on Sunday for the second Test at Eden Park in Auckland.
— with Andrew McMurtry
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