ANOTHER test, more controversy.
The French really do have reason to feel they have been ripped off during this three-test series in New Zealand.
The latest injustice – at Forsyth Barr Stadium last night, won 49-14 by the All Blacks to sweep the series – will once again force howls of outrage from those who believe the All Blacks earn far more favours from the officials.
The All Blacks were far too good, with left wing Rieko Ioane scoring three of their seven tries, but you had to feel a large degree of sympathy for Les Bleus.
This time the villain for France was John Lacey, an experienced referee.
The Irishman made a dreadful howler when he prevented replacement French halfback Baptiste Serin from tackling first five-eighth Damian McKenzie as he raced on to a flat pass by his halfback Aaron Smith from a scrum in the 32nd minute.
The try, converted by McKenzie, put the All Blacks ahead 21-14 and the scoreboard didn’t change before the halftime break.
Having earlier lost captain and No 9 Morgan Parra with concussion, the French rallied bravely and forced the men in black to scramble frantically in defence. Then Lacey got things wrong badly wrong.
That Lacey blocked Serin wasn’t the biggest crime. No, what bemused the 27,800 fans at the ground was the fact he allowed the try to stand after a quick look at the replay.
Prior to this match tighthead prop Uini Atonio protested that the French had been at a disadvantage during this tour; Atonio reckoned it was an uneven contest – 16 on 15, as he put it.
You can bet he won’t be changing his tune after this fixture, either.
The background to this latest blunder, of course, has been a colourful one; there are red-faces all over the shop. Last weekend