Monday, September 12, 2011
Another RWC; another blunder from Wayne - Day Three reviewed
Wayne Barnes is in the gun again for another RWC refereeing blunder, and this one may well have cost Wales the win over the worlc champion South Africans.
It happened midway through the first half. James Hook kicked for goal, and the ball looked to have just passed unside the right-hand upright. The assistant referee ruled it away, but if you look closely at the video which is being shown on the news, he was already on his way back to the sideline, and several metres away from the upright. Barnes on the other hand had an unobstructed view, but ruled that the kick had missed. Hook asked for a second opinion, and Barnes appeared to start to signal for help from the television match official, then seemed to change his mind and wave play on.
The Welsh can rightly feel hard done by; the final score in the match was 17-16 to South Africa. All Black supporters will sympatise with the Welsh, for it was of course Wayne Barnes who controlled that fateful match in Cardiff four years ago, and who missed an obvious forward pass in the lead-up to France's match-winning try. They will know how we have been feeling for the last four years!
Wales now faces a real battle to make the quarter-finals, with their match against Samoa being a must-win. It could and should have been the world champions in that situation after a titanic clash in Wellington last night where the Red Dragons of Wales put huge pressure on an ageing Springbok outfit. South Africa will count itself fortunate to have emerged with a victory first-up, but injuries to key players Jean de Villiers and Victor Matfield will be a concern.
Australia brushed aside a nervous first half to beat a competitive Italy 32-6. Italy took the Australian forwards on and held them to 6-all at half-time, but started to fall off tackles in the second half as the Australians found their rhythm.
But all power to the USA side. They went down 22-10 to Ireland, but there will be some sore Irish bodies today. The Americans tackled with fury and with passion, and the final score does not really do justice to the effort put in by the USA players. The Americans now face Russia on Thursday, in a match that they have targeted to win, and we wouldn't bet against them!
So; the first round of pool play is over, and noticeably, there is a much smaller gap between the top teams and the minnows on opening weekend. That bodes well for the rest of the tournament, although the depth of the lesser nations will be tested as RWC progresses. The standard of rugby has been very good, and we look forward to the next round of matches starting on Wednesday with considerable enthusiasm.