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'I take total responsibility for what I did': Raynal on time wasting call

By Sam Smith
Referee Mathieu Raynal speaks to Nic White and Bernard Foley of the Wallabies during The Rugby Championship & Bledisloe Cup match between the Australia Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at Marvel Stadium on September 15, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Referee Mathieu Raynal has addressed his controversial decision to penalise Bernard Foley in the first Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks, saying “I try to do what is the most fair.”

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Raynal’s decision to reverse a penalty and give the trailing All Blacks a scrum just under Australia’s posts in the dying seconds of the match were met by cries of “you’ve just cost us the Rugby Championship” by stand-in skipper Nic White after the final whistle was blown at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne. The All Blacks subsequently scored from the scrum, winning the contest 39-37.

After being crowned French rugby’s referee of the season yesterday, Raynal discussed the entire affair.

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“I take total responsibility for what I did, 100%,” the 41-year-old said.

“I had a necessary reason for making the decision even if it was a strong one, which caused people to talk.

“I try to do what is the most fair. That’s at the heart of my job.

“Sometimes it creates tensions, frustrations, arguments but I take responsibility over what I do.”

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Wallabies fly-half Foley said after the match that “there was a bit of confusion” due to the volume of the crowd, and that “he’d told me to hurry up, but time was off so he didn’t really mention that there was going to be further action than starting the clock.”

Raynal also responded to those claims by the Australian, saying: “I told a player five times to kick the ball to touch. I couldn’t do otherwise.

“It’s not me who decided to make the decision, it was the player who forced me to make it.”

The Frenchman also explained how he had discussed the decision with Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie after the match, who was bemused by the decision. Rennie had even said how Australia had contacted World Rugby over the decision, and said that “they agreed with our concerns.”

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“I had a discussion with him which was very sincere and honest,” Raynal said.

“He was satisfied by the refereeing during the entirety of the match. Obviously, we didn’t agree on the final decision.

“I can guarantee we had a calm conversation.”

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