Fans have taken to social media to express their confusion at a controversial call by the assistant referees that denied Jordie Barrett a conversion that appeared to be successful.
Barrett was attempting to convert Asafo Aumua’s second try that brought the Hurricanes to within five points of the Blues with just over 15 minutes to play.
Lining the kick up from the left-hand touchline, Barrett nudged the ball towards the right-hand post before it seemingly curled back in through the uprights.
However, neither of the assistant referees, Mike Fraser and James Doleman, nor referee Paul Williams or TMO Brendon Pickerill picked up on the oversight, much to the dismay of Barrett, the commentators and the crowd at Wellington’s Sky Stadium.
Numerous fans have taken to Twitter to express their outrage at the decision, with some describing it as “shocking” and “disgusting”.
Did this not go over…? ? pic.twitter.com/5pk1lcjX5c
— shay waterworth (@ShayWaterworth) February 27, 2021
It went down the middle. How was Jordie Barret's kick not awarded? #HURvBLU
— Oryna Emmanuel (@OrynaE) February 27, 2021
A few shocking decisions in this game. #HURvBLU
— Dr. Hamish // Be Kind. Be Strong. Unite. (@peregrinekiwi) February 27, 2021
How do you call a conversion wrong? Disgusting #HURvBLU
— The Rugby Oracle (@RuggaOracle) February 27, 2021
Three refs on the field and a TMO and they can get a conversion wrong? #HURvBLU
— Fiona B (@Feebeekiwi) February 27, 2021
Fark ARs better hope that doesn't affect the final score… shocker! #hurvblu
— James Perry (@Tipene98) February 27, 2021
One fans joked that it “seems appropriate the touch judges are sponsored by spec savers”, while others argued the officials got it right as the ball sailed over the top of the upright, which they believed meant it would have hit the post if it was lower.
— Darryl Anderson ?? (@DAprNZ) February 27, 2021
#HURvBLU the ball passed directly over the upright. If that post is higher it hits the post. Right call imo
— Joely198736 (@joel_morrell) February 27, 2021
The height of Jordie's kicks has cost him there, that looked over. Need to extend the Sky Stadium goal posts. #HURvBLU
— James Rodbourn (@jrodbourn) February 27, 2021
Another Twitter user wondered if Hurricanes skipper Ardie Savea could have used his captain’s call on the decision.
Respected rugby journalist and broadcaster Nigel Yalden, meanwhile, said the conversion should be awarded after the fact as the resulting play – a re-start back at halfway – is the same regardless of whether the conversion is successful or not.
Could ardie have used his captain’s call on that conversion? #HURvBLU
— Jono Willis (@jjmwillis) February 27, 2021
— Nigel Yalden ??? (@NigelYalden) February 27, 2021
In the end, though, the conversion wouldn’t have made a difference, as the Blues ended up running out 31-16 winners after Rieko Ioane and Otere Black combined to score 10 points in the final five minutes.
Barrett was thrust into the limelight earlier in the match after he landed two monstrous penalty goals from near halfway to give the Hurricanes an 11-7 lead at half-time.
However, the Wellington franchise find themselves at the bottom of the standings, trailing the fourth-placed Highlanders on points difference.
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