How embarrassing and immature; we never learn do we? Would it be that much of a stretch and would it ache that much, just for once, FOR ONCE, for some of the mainstream media and a particular breed of talkback caller (the rabidis dogus), to acknowledge that the All Blacks were JUST FOR ONCE beaten by the better team?
But no, the poor old venerable referee, in this case Nigel Owens, cost us the match. Not a mad-headed pass from Jordie Barrett that cost seven points, not Beauden’s erratic goalkicking, not our inability to find a Plan B, not the dumb choice of failing to at least trying to set up for a drop goal in the final few minutes in the shadow of the goalposts. Not even because the Springboks played it smarter and were just so completely inspired. Nope, didn’t happen as far as some seemed to be concerned. Either that or they we were all off making cups of tea throughout the great majority of the game.
And actually, saying Owens was responsible for the loss (because he didn’t agree with an offside call from the TMO) is a laugh in itself. Referees are not duty-bound to act upon every single piece of advice they hear through the headset (and who knows, the crowd was in such a ferment and the action so frantic, Owens may simply have been unaware of any message).
The fact is that Nigel Owens at times almost single-handedly kept us in the game. A case in point, when the Springboks had a likely overlap and were summoned back for a set-piece because Owens was worried that someone might trip over Liam Squire (cough), who was about twenty metres away getting treatment. Puuhlease…
Ridiculous, and no wonder the overseas press often stick it to our rugby media and public at large as being arrogant and sore losers. I agree with them. And bear in mind that we only lose once in a blue moon nowadays. Isn’t it time we lost this unbecoming, sulky hang-up?
email@example.com (Paul Montague)