The 100th Test match between the All Blacks and Springboks deserved a referee who could feel the game.
Unfortunately, the English referee dominated what should have been the clash of the titans.
Both teams were ready for this match. The proof was in the first passage of play, which was brilliant and ended with the AB’s only try. When was the last time the All Blacks have scored only one try? I think Luke Pearce has probably never experienced a match which started like it did. I think he felt uncomfortable, or that he needed to control the speed of the game, rather than allow the match to determine its own ebb and flow. From that moment on he continued to stop the rhythm, for mostly obscure reasons, which is a tragedy for the game.
There should be more profile given to the referee who wishes to celebrate the game within the law than those who appoint pedantic referees.
I’d like to see the game being played not the rule book. This is what all ambitious players and coaches prepare for and the best should be able to express themselves. It is certainly what the spectators want to see.
The rugby world will be hoping Matthew Carley, the English referee we have next Saturday, will do a better job.