‘Wait please’: The ‘huge’ snub that may have led to French referee’s ‘ridiculous’ Bledisloe Cup ruling
Bernard Foley’s decision to take a quick shot at goals proved pivotal in the Wallabies’ rousing comeback in Bledisloe I, but new footage shows that it may have ultimately cost his side.
With the Wallabies under the pump in the second half, Foley took the ball to the line and got away an offload to Andrew Kellaway to score.
The moment proved to be the turning point for the Wallabies, with the home side scoring two more tries in quick succession before a long-range penalty saw them take a late lead.
While replays were not conclusive, Foley clearly attempted to rush the conversion because the pass, as Ian Foster later said, was “dubious”.
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Yet, Foley’s decision to ignore Mathieu Raynal after Kellaway’s first try may well have come back to bite him as the French referee later awarded the All Blacks a game-changing scrum as the Wallaby took too long to take a penalty.
Raynal clearly told Foley to “please wait” as the Australian No.10, playing his first Test since the 2019 World Cup, lined up a shot in a matter of seconds where he successfully converted.
“Wait please. You have to wait. You have to wait!” Raynal said.
Nonetheless, the French referee did not take any action, instead allowing the conversion to stand as Foley ran back into his half.
While rarely do kickers actively ignore instructions from referees, quick kicks are often taken when there is an element of fear tries might be overturned or when teams are chasing the game.
Former Wallabies halfback Will Genia said on Stan’s Rugby Heaven the incident could well have played a part in Raynal’s decision to ping Foley for taking too long to take a penalty.
“That footage is huge because for me personally, having been out there on the field with referees and your interactions with them, that certainly sticks in his psyche moving forward,” Genia said.
“It’s obviously Bernard kicking the goal and Bernard at the end, taking the penalty to kick it out into touch. For me it’s definitely something that’s stuck in his mind.
“The funny thing about it is he asks him to wait but then still allows the goal kick to go ahead and allows the conversion to be successful, when he had all the rights to be able to pull that back.”
Two-time World Cup-winner Tim Horan agreed Foley likely knew why Raynal was asking him to wait.
“He could have brought it back, I think he was waiting for the TMO to see whether it was a forward pass to Kellaway or not,” Horan said.
“Bernard Foley knew he was probably going to go to the TMO and that’s why he kicked it quickly. But Raynal had the chance to bring him back and then just played on.
“So I’m not sure whether it played on his mind in the last 90 seconds or not but it could have done.”
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Earlier, Foster said the nature of rugby meant there were “swings and roundabouts” that influenced results.
“I understand there is a contentious nature about it, but it was very clear cut from our position,” Foster said in his post-match press conference following Bledisloe I.
“The other one that wasn’t clear cut was when (Andrew) Kellaway scored and the TMO wanted to look at what was a very suspicious forward pass and yet the conversion was allowed to be taken.
“So there’s a bit of swings and roundabouts.
“If people think that decided the Test match, well then you’re going to go through and analyse all the other decisions in the game too.”
Yet, rarely do such decisions take place in the final minutes of Tests, with officials generally putting their whistle away.
Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup return match at Eden Park is set to be one of the spiciest in the history of the trans-Tasman neighbours.
On Thursday, Wallabies coach Dave Rennie blasted Rieko Ioane for “mouthing off” at his team for their response to the All Blacks’ haka.
Both nations have been forced to make changes to their sides because of injury, with the All Blacks making six changes while the Wallabies have made two changes to their forward pack following injuries to Rob Leota and Matt Philip.