FRANCE 26-39 NEW ZEALAND, 2000

NZ Rugby World - - Jack Links -

The All Blacks played France twice in Novem­ber 2000, pro­vid­ing a chance of sorts to avenge the shock loss at the World Cup in 1999.

The first test in Paris ended up be­ing marred by a shocker of a per­for­mance by Aus­tralian ref­eree Wayne Erick­son.

He had two whop­ping howlers. The first was the award of a try to French lock Fa­bien Pelous that wasn’t even re­motely close to be­ing a try.

Pelous chugged to­wards the All Blacks line, but was turned in the tackle once he got there.

The All Blacks then piled un­der­neath him and Pelous, on his back on the top of this hu­man morass, was nearly as stunned as ev­ery­one else that he had been awarded the try.

To his credit, he looked em­bar­rassed as he ran back to half­way. To even the ledger, Chris­tian Cullen was awarded a try late in the game from a clear for­ward pass by Jonah Lomu.

The Daily Tele­graph in the UK had this to say about Erick­son’s per­for­mance: “There was some sus­tained ex­cite­ment dur­ing some pas­sages af­ter the break, but for much of the game ref­eree Wayne Erick­son seemed de­ter­mined to sti­fle the play­ers’ am­bi­tion and ra­tion the spec­ta­tors’ en­joy­ment.

“Both sides su ered. Ref­er­ee­ing a top in­ter­na­tional is al­ways fiendishly di cult, and the laws are do­ing the ref­er­ees no favours, but a more pos­i­tive ap­proach would def­i­nitely help.

“Maybe it’s just body lan­guage, but the an­i­mated glee with which Erick­son is­sued ev­ery penalty and pun­ished mi­nor o ences, real or imag­ined, was most dis­con­cert­ing.”

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