Last Saturday at Twickenham Australia were on the wrong end of one bad call, possibly two, from the officials.
If you were to look at any of the social networking or rugby sites you could read a litany from annoyed (some apoplectic) Aussie fans demanding IRB action and claiming unfair bias against them.
The fact is that, despite the introduction of TMOs, there is always likely to be at least some level of controversy in every match – especially at international level. Emotions are fuelled by declarations of intent and wind-ups from both camps in the days before the game kicks-off (sometimes literally). The fans read all this as if it were tablets of stone rather than an attempt by the coaches to gain a psychological advantage as tensions rise.
The Aussies had some justification for being annoyed on Saturday – but not for the level of vitriol on some media platforms. Let’s face it, the Cook Cup is not something to get that worked up about – it didn’t even start until 1997 and is awarded on the result of just one match.
There are more significant trophies to get steamed up about – World Cup (obviously), The Rugby Championship, 6 Nations, Super 15 and the Heineken Cup to name a few.
If it had been a World Cup final for instance – well then a controversial call would have been more damaging. Along with other England fans I was just a trifle miffed in 2007 when Cueto’s ‘try’ was disallowed for a foot in touch. TV replays were not even as conclusive as Mike Brown’s transgression and the Springboks went on to pick up ‘Bill’
There has been and will continue to be major controversy – was Sam Warburton’s instant red card in 2011 really the right call? Should Bismarck Du Plessis have been sent off against the All Blacks when the first yellow looked very harsh? Did David Pocock con Bryce Lawrence in the 2011 quarter final against South Africa?
Truth is, as fans we just have to suck it up and move on – yellow cards, justified or not can change a game – red cards almost always do – but that is the nature of rugby. If you can’t accept that without getting out of your pram than maybe you’d be better off watching darts. That goes for fans of all nations – not just the major ones.
No ref or even TMO is going to be infallible – even with the aid of television replay.
Sometimes you get the decision, sometimes you don’t.
The focus for every team has to be to make their own luck – not hoping that the big decisions will fall in your favour. We all need to believe that the theory of ‘swings and roundabouts’ works and that on balance we all get an equal time benefiting from the rub of the green
If we spend our time wondering ‘what if’ then we’ll miss some great games and moments – it’s irrelevant in the final analysis. All that matters is what it says on the score board at the end of the eighty!
Having said that these moments still make for a good debate over a couple of cold ones!