FRANCE 28-19 FIJI, 1999

NZ Rugby World - - Jack Links -

Paddy O’Brien was a good ref­eree. One of the best in the last 20 years and one of the most re­spected. But even the best can have a bad day.

And O’Brien had a bad, bad day when he ref­er­eed the 1999 World Cup pool game be­tween Fiji and France.

The for­mer should have won, but they were up against one of the worst ref­er­ee­ing per­for­mances of re­cent mem­ory.

O’Brien had a shocker. An ab­so­lute night­mare. He dis­al­lowed a per­fectly good Fi­jian try early in the first half when he saw a knock-on no else in the world did.

He then failed to pick up three for­ward passes in the build-up to one of France’s tries and then in­ex­pli­ca­bly awarded the French a penalty try when their own scrum was buck­ling and forced to pop up.

O’Brien would go on to write in his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy that: “I lost the plot.” Stat­ing as mat­ter of fact that he had a train crash of a game.

CAR CRASH Paddy O’Brien was not proud of his per­for­mance in 1999 but was at least hon­est about it.

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