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The Ref Slating New Zealand Media Reaction To An Epic Lions Draw In Auckland

The Ref Slating New Zealand Media Reaction To An Epic Lions Draw In Auckland
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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Analogies about kissing your own sister were mentioned regularly following the draw between the Lions and New Zealand at Eden Park. It had been an enthralling game but one where the result left neither side satisfied. A drawn game and a drawn series.

Considering expectations prior to the tour, it is the Lions who head home feeling more content with their efforts.

The game ended in controversy as referee Romain Poite first awarded a penalty to the All Blacks immediately following the restart after Owen Farrell's equalising kick. After consultation with his TMO, the French official instead chose to award New Zealand a scrum. It was a game and series defining decision.

Unsurprisingly, Poite has been the focus of the New Zealand media following the game.

Phil Gifford, for Stuff.co.nz  in a report titled 'Test descends into French Farce', said that Poite was out of his depth.

And they got a terrific test match, which did descend into French farce in the last five minutes, when you felt referee Romain Poite was out of his depth and at a level beyond his abilities. At the end of the game the poor guy wasn't even sure if the game was over.

The New Zealand Herald's Patrick McKendry also highlighted Poite's moment of prominence.


This Lions series deserved a fitting finale, and it has certainly got that, with referee Romain Poite set to feature prominently in the post mortems from here to eternity due to his decision in the final minute to change his mind on a penalty in front of the posts for the All Blacks.


Likewise, so did Liam Napier of the same paper.

Romain Poite's accidental offside ruling - after first awarding a penalty - was a hugely controversial decision that will long be debated. So, too, will Rhys Webb throwing the ball into a prone Wyatt Crockett - the resulting penalty allowing Owen Farrell to bang over the kick which levelled it up.

Stuff.co.nz's Mark Reason could not decide between Conor Murray and All Black second row Brodie Retallick as his Player of the Tour.

And so the Lions came back into the game and there were so many impossible outcomes to decide. The man of the series? For me a dead heat between Conor Murray and Brodie Retallick. The next All Blacks coach? Warren Gatland won't get the job, but he can be proud of how his teams have played on this tour.

Gregor Paul of the  New Zealand Herald chose not to mention the referee instead focusing on what had been an immense encounter.


The international game had been crying out for a game like this - one where two high quality teams went at it for 80 minutes, their skills on show, their bravery, commitment and desire to test each other being quite wonderfully obvious.

This was drama with spectacle, the combination everyone wanted and not since there hasn't been a game quite of this ilk since the All Blacks played the Springboks at Ellis Park in 2013.

Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray both received favourable reviews for their performances. Stuff gave both 7/10 while they received 8/10 from the Herald.


Of Sexton it was said:

Can't fault his bravery after soldiering on for most of the match after a couple of heavy knocks. Neat footwork kept the All Blacks defence guessing. Solid enough on defence.

And Murray:


Another absorbing duel between the two best halfbacks in the world. Missed a couple of tackles on Julian Savea, but who doesn't? His pass wasn't as snappy as Aaron Smith's.

Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

See Also: Lions Player Ratings From An Epic Drawn Game Against The All Blacks

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