NZ Rugby World - - Jack Links -

The All Blacks were at Eden Park in Oc­to­ber 2016 hop­ing to set a world record of 18 con­sec­u­tive vic­to­ries.

Their op­po­nent was their old­est foe – the Wal­la­bies. And while the Bledis­loe Cup was safely in the cup­board, the Aus­tralians were hun­gry and des­per­ate.

That much be­came ob­vi­ous when they be­gan to dom­i­nate the game early in the sec­ond half. They had the mo­men­tum, pos­ses­sion and ter­ri­tory and were push­ing to get ahead on the score­board.

Which they thought they had man­aged when Henry Speight scored af­ter 48 min­utes. But af­ter award­ing the try, ref­eree Nigel Owens was goaded by the crowd to look back to de­ter­mine whether Dane Haylett-Petty had ob­structed Ju­lian Savea who was chas­ing back to try to make a tackle on Speight.

Savea had maybe been im­peded but it didn’t look like he was any­where near close enough to have made the tackle so the try should have stood.

But nope. It was chalked off to the fury of the Wal­la­bies.

Coach Michael Cheika was care­ful with his re­sponse: “Ob­vi­ously I can’t say any­thing be­cause they’ve got you by the throat. I’ve just never seen shep­herd­ing from be­hind be­fore.”

Com­men­ta­tor Rod Kafer, though, didn’t hold back: “Nigel Owens should never ref­eree a test match again, that is dis­grace­ful. He [Haylett-Petty] is be­hind the ball, he can run where he likes.

“It was a cru­cial de­ci­sion that ab­so­lutely changed the course of this test match.”

DE­NIED Henry Speight’s try should have been al­lowed.

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