No IRB action against Lawrence
Johannesburg - No visible action will be taken against New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence after his refereeing performance in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final on Sunday.
Lawrence, who many South Africans blame for the loss for failing to control the breakdown and allowing Wallaby flank David Pocock the freedom of the park will no longer be involved in the World Cup, but the International Rugby Board will not allow any comment on his performance.
IRB Referees boss Paddy O’Brien seemed more than willing to chat about Lawrence, but asked that all enquiries go through IRB Communications manager Dominic Rumbles on the matter.
Rumbles simply repeated the IRB mantra of “We don’t comment on individual refereeing performances”.
However, behind the scenes it seems that Lawrence has been hauled over the coals for his performance, which was seen as one of the worst in the tournament.
The question marks are still there whether he should have been at the World Cup in the first place.
Lawrence was lambasted after his handling of the Sharks v Crusaders game in the Super Rugby qualifiers, so much so that SANZAR referees boss Lyndon Bray admitted he probably wouldn’t have got the Super Rugby final if the appointments were announced later.
Lawrence is of course, the son of New Zealander Keith Lawrence, who is the former boss of referees in the country and now heads the IRB’s refereeing development office.
Australia were angry at Lawrence’s rulings in the scrum in their loss to Ireland, so much so that he admitted “making key mistakes” in the game that forced them into the showdown with the Springboks.
And after Saturday Lawrence will not have many fans in South Africa, where days after the loss he is still being blamed for the Boks' exit from the tournament.
A Facebook "petition to stop Bryce Lawrence from ever reffing a game again" had garnered more than 41 000 likes in its first day on the internet.
And the final word was left to outgoing Bok captain John Smit, who summed up Lawrence's performance well.
"Bryce is not difficult to communicate with, he just doesn't seem to listen very well. The one positive is that I won't ever have to be reffed by him again," Smit said on arrival back in South Africa.