FRANCE 28-19 FIJI, 1999
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.