NEW ZEALAND 15-15 BRITISH & IRISH LIONS, 2017
Eden Park is clearly not a happy place for Romain Poite. After his shocker in 2013, he was back in Auckland to referee the third and deciding test between the British and Irish Lions and the All Blacks.
He’d had an okay game until the last minute. With the scores tied at 15-all, Lions hooker Ken Owens got himself in a muddle at kick-o , catching the ball in an o side position.
Poite took his time and then made the correct call – he awarded the All Blacks the penalty. But Lions captain Sam Warburton asked the French o cial if he was sure and suggested he check with the TMO.
The answer to that should have been no as it wasn’t foul play or an adjudication on whether a try had been scored.
Still, Poite asked the question of his TMO George Ayoub who confirmed the call was good – penalty All Blacks and it was kickable.
But for some inexplicable reason Poite was talked out of it by his assistant referee Jérôme Garcès and the final decision was to award a scrum.
It was one of the worst decisions in the history of referee howlers. The game and series were drawn and the world totally perplexed.
“We all know what happened and we all know probably what should have happened,” said a restrained All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.
“But it’s a game and as little kids we’re taught to take the good with the bad, and we have to do that.
“You go back to the World Cup and the same thing happened and Scotland missed out [against Australia] because they didn’t use the video. This time they used video and had a pow-wow. What would have been good was just play on and if we would have scored under the posts that would have been okay.
“But we didn’t. His initial instincts were it was a penalty, he spoke to his team of three, and one of them suggested it was accidental.
“It’s either o side or isn’t o side, and if we all know it’s o side then it’s o side. But there are too many avenues you can go down. That’s not the ref’s fault, it’s the rulebook and people running the game need to ask themselves, do we need to make it simple? My answer to that would be yes.”
RED MIST Romain Poite looked like he had no idea what was going on in the last minute of the third Lions test in 2017.