“It is difficult to beat New Zealand anywhere . . . but when the referees are subconsciously leaning their way, it becomes all but impossible.”
Former England flyhalf Stuart Barnes says the All Blacks always seem to get the rub of the green when it comes to refereeing decisions.
Barnes, in his regular column on the Sky Sports website, said he was disappointed after watching the Springboks-All Blacks Test in Auckland last weekend.
“Unfortunately déjà vu struck and for all the excellence of so much of New Zealand’s game, it will be remembered – certainly in South Africa – for yet another refereeing display where the key decisions again broke the way of the All Blacks,” Barnes wrote.
“Australia were on the wrong end of some atrocious refereeing a few weeks ago in Wellington and the Springboks found their more realistic hopes of a first win in Auckland since 1937, undone by Romain Poite.
“The Frenchman is one of my favourite referees, but like the majority of his colleagues who blow down south, somehow the whistle always goes New Zealand’s way.
“Maybe it is time for All Blacks fans and coaches to forget about 2007 and Wayne Barnes; time to accept that the wheel has turned full circle in their favour.”
Bok hooker Bismarck du Plessis was controversially sent off in Auckland when he received two yellow cards.
Much to the ire of the Springboks’ fans, Frenchman Poite showed the hooker a yellow card in the 16th minute of the Test for a perfectly legal tackle on All Black flyhalf Dan Carter.
Poite then showed Du Plessis a second yellow – and a subsequent red card – for leading with an elbow which connected with the throat of All Black flank Liam Messam.
“Every small decision seems to be interpreted New Zealand’s way,” Barnes continued.
“Even when the All Blacks suffered two indisputable yellow cards in the last 10 minutes when the game was won the referee took their side. Ma’a Nonu went for a late charge (on Bok skipper Jean de Villiers), but Conrad Smith escaped a cynical hand in the ruck metres from the line.
“It was pure yellow and De Villiers quizzed the French referee as to whether Smith too should be sin-binned. Poite disregarded him when the New Zealanders should have been down to 12 men for the misdemeanours. But that was a correct decision too far for the Frenchman.
“It is difficult to beat New Zealand anywhere and anytime, let alone in New Zealand, but when the referees are subconsciously leaning their way, it becomes all but impossible.”