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Nigel Owens tweets his official stance on Mathieu Raynal decision

By Ian Cameron
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)

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Retired referee Nigel Owen has tweeted his official stance on Mathieu Raynal’s decision to penalise Bernard Foley for time-wasting in the final minute of the Wallabies Bledisloe Cup clash with the All Blacks on Thursday.

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The decision saw possession pass back to the All Blacks, who after a couple of phases of attack crossed the line to score a match-winning try after the buzzer had gone at the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.

The Wallabies – who haven’t won the Bledisloe Cup in 18 years – were left to wonder what might have been after heroically battling back into the game to take the lead in the dying moments. The call has likewise enraged Australian rugby fans, who have viewed it as an unprecedented decision, given the context.

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Video footage and audio has since suggested that the Foley did take far too long to kick the ball after multiple warnings from the French official, who can be repeatedly heard telling the player to kick the ball.

Owens is often pestered by social media users for his take on big refereeing decisions and he tweeted his final take, alongside a video of the incident on the social media platform.

Owens wrote: “As so many of you have been in touch to ask. Clear communication and warning to the player to get on with it. A fair and strong refereeing call my Raynal I feel. Learning here is not for the referee, but the players to get on with it when ref asks.

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Former England 10 Andy Goode is in agreement, writing in his RugbyPass column that Raynal did indeed get it right. “As a fly half, I’ve been warned hundreds of times by referees for taking too long but I wasn’t penalised because I listened and booted the ball into touch. The referee is always right and play to the whistle are things you learn as a kid and Foley simply fell foul of that.

“It’s natural that the amount of time you take to kick to touch is going to come under greater scrutiny in the final moments of a game when you’re in the lead but I’ve watched the game back and he did definitely take longer than he had been doing previously.”

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