Cape Town - An overwhelming majority of Sport24 readers have reacted with jubilation following reports that New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence's international career is over.
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Sympathy for the official was in short supply with Springbok fans clearly not in a forgiving mood and it seemed that Sport24 readers had a unified message for the referee..."Good riddance."
Lawrence's reluctance to face up to the wrath of South African rugby fans has brought about a premature end to his career.
After Lawrence's refusal to return to South Africa to oversee possible future rugby internationals in the country, the IRB refereeing panel had no alternative but to indefinitely suspend him from international duty.
There were genuine security fears over Bryce Lawrence's safety in South Africa following the referee's perceived inept performance resulting in South Africa's controversial quarter-final exit against the Wallabies at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.
Lawrence's overly lenient overseeing of the breakdown in particular, was regarded by many as the decisive factor in the Springbok's loss to the Wallabies after Australia won despite being totally outplayed in the set-pieces and despite struggling with a lack of possession.
Lawrence's handling of the game drew criticism from many quarters, most notably from former Springbok Bobby Skinstad, highly acclaimed South African referee Andre Watson and sport scientist Tim Noakes.
Lawrence's performance prompted former Springbok captain John Smit to launch a scathing attack on the referee:
''Bryce is not difficult to communicate with, he just doesn't seem to listen very well," Smit told journalists.
"The one positive (of retirement) is that I won't ever have to be reffed by him again."
A Facebook petition set up "To Stop Bryce Lawrence Ever Reffing A Rugby Game Again" reached a total of 82 127 likes.
Interestingly enough, Bryce's father, Keith Lawrence was once implicated in a 1999 conspiracy and scandal after an embarassing e-mail surfaced in which he and his Australian refereeing counterparts proposed a collaboration to "teach the
Japies (South Africans) a lesson" by strictly penalising South African players in the Tri-Nations.
Here's what Sport24 readers had to say about the premature end to Bryce Lawrence refereeing career:
"My day has brightened considerably!" - Jason
"This is fantastic news! Prayers do get answered. Woohoo!" - Charles Dumbwin
"I recant - maybe there is a god!" - Mememan
"He is welcome to holiday here in South Africa. Preferably in Ventersdorp!" - Jo.Barton92
"Brycie boy, this does not mean that it is now safe for you to set your feet in SA... stay away for the rest of your life, we will NEVER forget!" - JimmyPop142
"Great news! Unfortunately the he went out with a bang, at our expense." - Klippies.Coke.7
"Lawrence was awarded NZ "ref of the year".The head of the selection panel was his dad.True story!The Allblacks World Cup "win" will forever be tainted by the inept crooked reffing of Lawrence.They will never know for sure if they were the true champions of that tournament." - Burtfred Brown
"With the death of Bryce Lawrence's international test career, all
chances of the All Black's winning another WC in the next 24yr has also
suffered a horrible death." - Naude
"Well, from a New Zealand point of view he did his job. Hope they gave him a World Cup medal for his outstanding 'performance' in the quarter-finals." - Roaz Omar
"Good riddance to bad rubbish! Cheers, you will most definitely not be missed." - Steyts
"Send him to the AA for rehab." - Stormers
"Give Sanzar a Bells!" - Lionel Kem
"This is as much an an admission by Zanzar that Lawrence cheated. He will
be remembered as a blatant cheat in a position of trust. It's his
legacy....except in New Zealand. An all time low for a proud rugby
nation when they awarded him as "Referee of the year" Sies man!" - Jamie Eayrs
"Bryce Lawrence assisted the All Blacks by giving them weaker opposition. He made 47 mistakes in one game. That was of course after
apologising to Australia for cocking up their game against Ireland,
thereby 'arranging' for us to meet Australia in the quarter-final." - Paul
"Maybe Bryce can now move over to training blind referees. He sure is qualified enough." - Revelgen
@ Revelgen "I have to object to that statement... blind referees deserve much more credit :)" - Paul
"The NZ will surely miss their ref of the year. The NZRU is just as bad as Bryce Lawrence for naming BL ref of the year after such a poor performance." - Viva LeBok
"Too little too late." - Hallo Dar
"Better late than never I suppose, but it still sucks that it took them so long." - Arthur J Ware
"Justice will prevail! He deserves nothing less." - Nehemia Cape Town
"Bryce is a perfect case study for aspiring referees - How NOT to apply
any IRB rules in 80 minutes and still be crowned as NZ No1 ref." - Leon Leroux
"He cost us our title." - Roibos
"Thank you for leaving, Bryce." - Louis Nel
"Has the evil axis of Paddy O'Brien/Bryce Lawrence finally tilted?" - Press enter
"Now get him out of Super Rugby too please." - Boyvandie Suburbs
"Amazing. The guy screws the defending world champs and gets awarded NZ referee of the year. He screws the Crusaders and gets axed from Test rugby. Not Super 15 rugby, TEST rugby! How clear is it that they practice double standards against anything New Zealand / Crusaders / Richie McCaw?" - AJCVDW
"We need a bigger name to hate." - Theunis Botha
"His performance at the 2011 Rugby World Cup was a disgrace and it is sad
to see that he still allowed to referee and competitive rugby matches." - rushdie.edries
"He has joined the kiwi ex-ref boss in the sevens set up, to ensure that New Zealand get an Olympic gold..." - Mike Biagio
"I was hoping MARK Lawrence." - Stompies Hattingh
"Can we take Bryce Lawrence's termination as a belated concession that
there was something wrong in THAT game?" - Dan Retief on Twitter
Inept or iniquitous? Au-revoir, Bryce Lawrence. (Gallo Images)