France felt hard done by yet another officiating howler after Damian McKenzie’s referee-assisted try put the All Blacks on the road to a thumping 49-14 victory on Saturday – report Rugby 365.
The tourists were already upset at the referees in the first two Tests, after a yellow card set the All Blacks up for a 52-11 romp in Auckland and then an early red card – later rescinded – in last week’s 13-26 loss in Wellington.
France backrower Kevin Gourdon had complained earlier in the tour that it seemed referees favoured the All Blacks, and his view will not have changed after McKenzie’s try before half-time.
The All Blacks flyhalf was able to run untouched to the line after Irish referee John Lacey accidentally obstructed French scrumhalf Baptiste Serin from tackling him.
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McKenzie’s converted score put the All Blacks up 21-14 at the break, and they raced away with a further four unanswered tries in the second half, including McKenzie’s second and three to left wing Rieko Ioane.
“It seems quite clear and quite straightforward that if a player or referee should obstruct a play and it disadvantages one team or the other, then it needs to be accounted for and dealt with,” France coach Jacques Brunel complained.
Brunel said that if the try had been disallowed the scores would have been level at half-time, although he conceded the All Blacks were too good in the second half.
“But in the second half, the All Blacks raised the speed of the game. We tried to keep up with them but perhaps we should have played at our own pace.”
The controversial moment
Serin, who scored the opening try for France when he came on early for the injured Morgan Parra, believed he was hard done by.
“I would have tackled [McKenzie],” he insisted.
“In the first half, it felt like we had the upper hand. We were setting the pace of the game and were making the All Blacks work hard. But in the second half we lost a number of turnovers and dropped off the pace,” Serin said.
The decision to let the try stand lit up social media, with many supporting the French line that the try should have been disallowed.
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