Fans have taken aim at Super Rugby AU after a light outage forced a 10-minute delay in Friday’s match between the Melbourne Rebels and Western Force at HBF Park in Perth.
The main lighting towers went out with six minutes to play just as the two sides were set to pack down for a scrum close to the Rebels tryline with the Force trailing by just three points.
The outage forced officials to bring a halt to the match as referee Graham Cooper was forced to get the rulebook out to determine whether the game could continue.
However, the match resumed with some of the lights still out, and the Rebels held on to secure a tightly-fought 10-7 victory.
The incident spurred a barrage of criticism online, with fans and viewers of the match taking to Twitter to express their concern about how the light outage was able to happen mid-match.
One user said the stoppage had killed the Force’s momentum as they looked to strike and take the lead in the minutes leading up to the interruption, while another labelled it a “joke of a competition”.
— StanSportAU (@StanSportAU) March 12, 2021
— Mark O'Shea (@markoyaaaay) March 12, 2021
That break absolutely killed the Force's momentum. #FORvREB
— Kieran L ?? (@kieran_shaker) March 12, 2021
Just another way for the Rebels to lose. Fuck this for a joke of a competition. This isn’t a Wednesday training run where you can play with half the lights on. #FORvREB
— Thomas Bick (@TommyBick) March 12, 2021
man this is not a good look… reading the rule book on the sidelines! Someone should be dialing that shit in #FORvREB
— Dave (@Rugby_Sicko) March 12, 2021
And after all that we decide to play without the lights. Y did it take that long to come to that conclusion? #FORvREB
— 8ken. (@Aitken73356124) March 12, 2021
Others, meanwhile, saw the funny side of the situation, as one Twitter user joked that the officials pulling out rulebook was “the peak of Australian rugby”.
Another suggested that fans should “park cars on the sidelines and turn on the headlights” to combat the darkness at the stadium.
The rule book is out. Peak Australian rugby ??? #FORvREB
— Adam Moursy (@adammoursy) March 12, 2021
Just park cars on the sidelines and turn on the headlights#FORvREB
— Steve Lenthall (@steve_l15) March 12, 2021
So, who tripped over the extension cable to the lights? #FORvREB
— SuckerForRed (@SuckerForRed) March 12, 2021
Real Thursday night training vibes with half the lights off here #FORvREB
— Jack Norton (@JackNorton8064) March 12, 2021
#FORvREB let's postpone it till morning
— Gabrizelle (@RealAn0n) March 12, 2021
A couple of users joked that the Force’s billionaire owner Andrew Forrest, who made his fortune in the mining industry, had forgot to pay the stadium’s power bill and that he should generate power for the lights through burning coal.
Contingency planning game weak.
Did Twiggy not pay the bill?#FORvREb
— Namey McNameface (@NickPfitzner) March 12, 2021
Can't Twiggy get the coal fire burning? #FORvREB
— Stuart (@stuartfaz) March 12, 2021
Imagine spending 8 billion dollars on a rugby team and having them lose in semi darkness to a team of folks who hadn’t seen or heard about rugby 2 months ago. It’s the stuff of movies. #FORvREB
— Tah Late Great W.J. (@waratahjesus) March 12, 2021
The Rebels win, which denied the Force a second successive victory after last week’s success over the Waratahs, elevates the Melbourne franchise to third place on the Super Rugby AU standings, three points behind the second-placed Reds.
On the flip side of the equation, the Force have been demoted to fourth place, four points clear of the last-placed Waratahs.
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