Australia wrote to rugby’s global governing body to reiterate its concerns about refereeing after the Rugby Championship test against New Zealand in Melbourne was tainted by a controversial time-wasting decision.
French referee Mathieu Raynal penalized Bernard Foley for delaying the game on Thursday.
New Zealand were rewarded with a five-metre scrimmage in front of the posts, while Jordie Barrett attempted a 39-37 win for the All Blacks after the siren.
Raynal’s decision, almost unheard of in elite rugby, was criticized by Australian coach Dave Rennie and experts around the world.
A Rugby Australia spokesperson confirmed on Monday that he had urged World Rugby to take its concerns about refereeing in general seriously.
“This is not unusual, we have been lobbying World Rugby for a while,” the spokesperson said.
With the increasing use of the Television Match Official (TMO) to detect violations, elite rugby has been dominated by authorities in recent years for more stop-and-go games.
A lower threshold for yellow and red cards to improve safety had a huge impact on flow as the TMO and referee stopped the action several times each game and often spent minutes weighing video footage of events before decisions were made.
Australia is not alone in voicing its concerns about the state of the game.
England coach Eddie Jones said in July he would push for change, fed up with refereeing delays and the “constant” use of the TMO.
The Melbourne loss saw Australia deliver the Bledisloe Cup, the trans-Tasman trophy in which it competed with New Zealand for 20 years each year.
While he felt Australia was done after Raynal’s time-wasting call, several of Foley’s teammates from behind felt the urgency by waving and shouting at him to kick the ball, even with the team’s forwards gathered near the goal line.
Foley said on Friday that the Wallabies are trying to “get really clear” about what he will do next on the roster.
Prop Allan Alaalatoa said the leadership group is reviewing the event to see how they can better deal with similar situations in the future.
“I’ve never been part of a rugby game where this happened before but now we’ve learned about it,” he told reporters on Monday.
“We can only control what we can control and you should take the referee’s decision from that.”
To win the Rugby Championship, Australia will need to break a 36-year losing streak against the All Blacks at Eden Park on Saturday and hope Argentina can beat South Africa.
The Wallabies will have to make do without slack forward Rob Leota, who smashed their Achilles during the Melbourne game.
Australia could lose to suspend Darcy Swain, who faces a judicial hearing later Monday for a dangerous cleanup at All Black Quinn Tupaea.
Alaalatoa said his team is still hurt by the Melbourne result.
“We just want to make sure we’re channeling that in the right direction.”