Referee's controversial decisions


Sir, – With regard to Nigel Owens’s decision to award a penalty to the All Blacks, resulting in the course of the game being turned in to the All Blacks’ favour (Sport, June 18th 19th). I wish to make the following observations: Ben Franks, the All Black tight head, dropped his bind and, under pressure from Cian Healy, started to turn in allowing Healy to get underneath him, thereby putting him under severe pressure.

In addition, the All Blacks’ Sam Cane disengaged from the scrum and started to bind on the Irish loose head, Healy. This further weakened the All Blacks’ scrum, because, as I have mentioned, the flanker was off the scrum. Nigel Owens was situated on that side of the scrum observing both fouls. He awarded no penalty to Ireland, which I find quite bizarre to say the least. The New Zealand scrum was destroyed by the points mentioned above, resulting in it wheeling and collapsing.

I find it most disturbing that in a match of this magnitude, the referee awarded the penalty to the wrong side. – Yours, etc,


Burnfort Road,

Newport, Gwent, Wales.

Sir, – It’s time for the literary altercation between Toland and Owens to end just as the match did at 9.10pm on Saturday. I was lucky enough to get to the game: it was freezing, yet an outstanding test match kept every person in the stadium on the edge of their seat and the cold vanished.

Sure, an Ireland win would have been amazing and the All Blacks fans were unanimous in the view that the better team lost on the night, but a more important battle is taking place every day in Christchurch. The city is in ruins, rubble as high as houses everywhere, the CBD cordoned off, constant demolition, shops and businesses closed on every street. The All Blacks won; maybe we should have, but the true winners were the people of Christchurch who gained a semblance of normality, albeit only for a couple of hours. – Yours, etc,


Tokara Street,

Allambie Sydney, Australia.

Sir, – Good to see the rugby union journalists of The Irish Times pulling on the green jersey. The Six Nations defeat by Wales is down to the English referees Wayne Barnes and Dave Pearson. Leinster’s Rabo 12 final defeat by Ospreys is down to Romain Poite, the French referee and now Liam Toland has attacked Nigel Owens of Wales for his decisions in the defeat by the All Blacks. Clearly, kicking away possession to the opposition in the final minutes of games is nothing to do with losing them! – Yours, etc,


Brook Meadow,

Avoca, Co Wicklow.

Sir, – In light of Liam Toland’s analysis (Sport, June 18th) of the refereeing record at the New Zealand v Ireland match, I ask whether the IRB is aware of the failures and/or biased policies of the referees at test level? Wales, similarly, were also denied that day. From the onlookers’ and supporters’ view, the “chasm” between north and south is being helped along, seemingly tacitly, by those in authority. I would hope this is not true.

Many point to football’s governing body FIFA’s glaring failure to improve fairness in its sport. I would pray the IRB would not go down that route.

Some referees have been sporting, and apologised for genuine mistakes which decided games unfairly. They should be commended. Evidently some at test level are not. In the pursuit of fairness and a level playing field, surely the failures of the refereeing policy should be curbed with immediate effect, and subsequently officials refereeing in this manner be subject to discipline.

There has always been integrity inherent in the game, it’s why I love it above all other sports. I ask that the IRB act to restore and maintain that integrity. – Yours, etc,


Ashmole Estate,

London, England.

Sir, – I was disappointed to read Johnny Watterson’s “disappointed” article (Sport, June 19th) about Liam Toland’s disappointment at Nigel Owens’s reply to Liam’s disappointment with his refereeing! I also felt that with all this twittering about twitter, by twits who expend a lot of energy wittering on and on (on) twitter about nothing of any real consequence.

I feel like a wit, or even a nitwit w(r)iting this as I don’t have the foggiest about twitter. A better twitter tweeter, or writter would, have just ignored the twittering and not even bottered about the twittering.

Finally, and lastly, (as well) and also, if Shakespeare had tweeted on twitter (if it were available to him), he surely would have tweeted, “neither a tweetterer nor a twitter be”. Personally, I think “much ado about nothing” would have been perfect. – Yours, etc,


Hollywood, Co Wicklow.