Analysis: RWC Group of Death Referees

Analysis: RWC Group of Death Referees

Analysis: RWC Group of Death Referees

An analysis of the Wallabies’ record under the Group of Death referees, looking at key statistics since the 2011 World Cup

The Wallabies face the toughest group in World Cup history this September.   They must face the might of the English and Welsh packs behind enemy lines and the unpredictable Fijians. The games will be tough, the margins small and the consequences grave. Little things will need to go the Wallabies’ way, including the calls of the referee.

How much influence do referees have?

The influence of referee Nigel Owens on the Wallabies’ chastening loss to the All Blacks at Eden Park was discussed recently. Mark Reason even suggested that Owens’ performance was laden with “unintentional bias” which directly impacted the outcome. If it is true that certain referees have a “bias” (albeit subconscious) in favour of or against a particular team’s style of play, then in a World Cup where opponents are so evenly matched, this could have a crucial impact.

This article examines how the Wallabies have fared under the referees they will face in the Group of Death and beyond. While many factors go into a result (including most importantly the skill and commitment of the teams), the stats give us some valuable insight into how Australia’s record under certain referees could be the difference between victory and defeat in pursuit of “Bill”.

The Wallabies’ record under Group of Death referees


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Remember the Wallabies’ harrowing losses to the British & Irish Lions in Sydney (16 – 41) or the All Blacks in Auckland (20 – 51)? Monsieur Poite was the referee in charge of both of those games. It’s safe to say that our record under Poite is not good. When we have lost, we have lost heavily – conceding 10 tries to 3 in the process.

The most worrying statistic is that we only win 71.67% of our own scrum ball under Poite, compared with an overall 79.57% over the same period. This is the worst scrum percentage that we have under all referees in this period. This is a particular concern as we will face a very strong English scrum in the Twickenham cauldron where the perception of a weak scrum is likely to be hugely significant. The English also have a promising 67% win record under Poite over the same period.

However, a relieving fact is that our only victory under Poite came against the English at Twickenham in 2012 (20 – 14).




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Joubert is one of the highest regarded referees in the world and officiated in the 2011 World Cup final. If we make it through the Group of Death, we may yet play under him again.

Although we tend to be on the wrong side of the penalty count under Joubert, we have not lost to any side other than New Zealand.   Importantly, under him, we have a 100% record against the Welsh from three games, including last year’s 33 – 28 win in Cardiff (although we haven’t lost to the Welsh since 2008). Wales also have a poor 33.3% record under Joubert over the same period.

While the Wallabies only win 73.50% of their own scrum ball under Joubert, this increases to an encouraging 89% against the Welsh.

An important point to note for later in the tournament, when we have played New Zealand under him, we have had one draw and an average points differential of -5 over four matches. The Wallabies’ overall average points differential against New Zealand is -11 over the same period. So under him, we have tended to get closer to the best.

Chris Pollock – Referee vs Fiji

We have a 75% record under Pollock, including big wins over the Irish in Dublin (32 – 15) and the French in Sydney (39 – 13). Under Pollock, the games have tended to be more free flowing, which is reflected in our average of 3 tries per game.

While an open game is good to watch, this has the potential to feed into Fiji’s hands. However, Australia’s far superior set piece, and the English autumn, are likely to make Pollock less pivotal to the overall result.

Pascal Gauzere – Referee vs Uruguay

We have not played any matches under Gauzere since the 2011 World Cup so this is an unknown. However, against Uruguay, the identity of the referee is unlikely to be important.

Referees we could face after the Group of Death


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Nigel Owens is probably the highest regarded referee in the Northern Hemisphere – some have touted him as the man to referee the World Cup Final. This is not good news for Wallabies fans.

Remember the Wallabies’ first Rugby Championship loss to the Pumas or the time New Zealand held them scoreless for 80 minutes? Surely you remember the game a couple of weeks ago at Eden Park, when the Wallabies fell from a glorious victory to a 28 point loss in the space of a week?

While we typically face tougher opposition under Owens, our away record under him is abysmal – we have won zero games from 6 away games. The average points differential in those games is a massive -17. Australia’s average score per away game under him is a paltry 12 – well below the Wallabies overall average of 22 points per away game. Our average penalty differential of -3.66 is also among the worst of the referees examined for this article.

A reassuring thought is that we will probably play under Owens at a neutral venue, unless the match involves England. It would not be surprising if Owens is the referee for a potential South Africa v Australia quarterfinal.


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The Wallabies have an exceptional record under Wayne Barnes – we have not lost in the 6 matches he has officiated in, including wins over the All Blacks in Sydney, two against the Welsh, Argentina and a win against the French.   Pre-World Cup 2011, Wallabies’ fans may also remember the famous Tri-nations victory over the All Blacks in Brisbane in 2011, and the drought breaker in Bloemfontein when “Gilbert” nailed the last gasp penalty in 2010 – Barnes reffed both games.

The Wallabies’ scrum win percentage is the highest under Barnes than all other referees (minimum 3 games).   Despite being more penalised against Barnes, the Wallabies’ average points differential away from home is an enormous +15. We also average almost 4 tries per game in away fixtures under Barnes.

So Wallabies’ fans would love to have Barnes officiating a game in the later rounds of the tournament. Unfortunately, referees such as Joubert and Owens tend to be more highly favoured for the blockbuster games.


So, overall the Wallabies have mixed results under different referees. As supporters, we should be encouraged by our record under Pollock, Joubert and particularly Barnes. However, our poor match and scrum record under Poite poses a real concern for the acid test against the English at Twickers. The Welsh are also incredibly tough, and given our tendency to be on the wrong side of the penalty count under Joubert, our progress may depend on the performance of Welsh sharpshooter Leigh Halfpenny.   Even if we get through our pool, a likely match up under the Wallabies’ bogey man Nigel Owens awaits in the quarter or semi-finals.

However, this is a new Wallabies in 2015. The Wallabies have shown significant improvement in the set piece, and are playing with tremendous self-belief under Michael Cheika. So, I’m backing them to take the referee out of the equation and survive the Group of Death.

  • Hambone

    i knew i never liked that owens fella ;).
    now that the beer goggles have been removed and the story spelt out i understand why…

    • Mart

      I don’t like the way he ref’s at all. He gets quite emotionally invested and melodramatic.
      I reckon you can easily get him off side.
      He goes to the big screen replays alot. I’ve always thought a good ref is one you hardly notice and he is not one of those. Very much the centre of attention.

      The call he made when White threw the ball into an All Black at eden park that was lying in his way really bothered me

      The game he was in charge of against the Argie’s in mendoza last year was a farce. Sending people off and then bringing them back on etc.
      He speaks to the players as if they’re children and not highly paid professionals

      • Nutta

        Like a lot of things in life you have to treat him from the point of view of his “currency” – what he responds to. He’s a school-teacher – that means he likes hearing “Yes Sir”, thinks he’s vastly more intellectual than everyone else and will naturally focus on the kids who defy him. He’s also a bit of a performer so think of him as the frustrated drama teacher at school who missed his shot at the stage and now runs the annual school musical as though it’s Opening Night of Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway. Think of him as the IRU version of Mr G from Summer Heights High! So treat him accordingly as though you are Jonah’s dad at Parent-Teacher. Be demure. Give him the stage. Stand there and go “Yes Mr Owens Sir” and look like you mean it. Let him feel important and you will be fine. Show him any defiance and you’re fkd. You will then attract his ire. You mightn’t like it, but just cop it. They spend their whole careers feeling underappreciated so let his ego have 80min of sunshine on the stage and reap the rewards.

        • Who?

          I think Owens can be a fantastic ref. When he goes into a game with a clean sheet mentality. By which I mean when he enters a game not having reffed either team for a while. But if he’s reffed one of them recently… That team had better watch out. Because he doesn’t ref a game based on what’s in front of him. He refs it based on what happened last game, against different opposition. I hate that.

          I completely agree that he likes to think he’s in charge. Apparently, he’s absolutely side-splittingly hilarious in person, and I can imagine that. But our captains have had a horrible tendency to get him completely offside on the pitch. I think Squeaky’s approach the other week with Barnes worked a treat, but he didn’t manage to gel with NO. That’s not a sleight on Squeak – he got closer than many of our other recent captains! I remember NO being quite rude to Sharpie a few years ago, not dismissively, but giving him a spray. And nobody could accuse Sharpie of being regularly rude!

          I don’t hate NO, I just think that you’ve got to catch him on a good day, and agree you’ve got to work him differently to many other refs. Certainly, different to SH refs, even if his interpretations aren’t necessarily that different.

          I hate playing under Poite… Really can’t see why the IRB rate his scrum performance so highly, and it’s slightly suspicious that he’s officiating England/Australia at Twickers, when the Poms have already said they want to scrum all day. Our scrum is significantly improved, but I really do think that Poite goes off reputation and can be overly enthusiastic in bringing out cards. Because teams that think they’re accepted by him as being dominant have no obligation to scrummage anymore – they can walk around, drop binds, and drop scrums feeling confident they’ll receive a penalty. So they stop scrummaging, start playing stupid games, and Poite starts pulling out the cards.

          The other guys..? I like Barnes. I really like the way he refs. And no one should have issues with him providing he’s got functioning touchies! I don’t mind Pollock either. Just a bit disappointed we don’t have any Aussie refs over there – Angus Gardiner had a great year, arguably the form SH ref. Whereas some of the other guys who got over there – Berry, Jackson – I think are far less consistent in their performances.

        • Xaviera

          Gardner won Super Rugby referee of the year, and he will be at RWC as an AR, and when AR1, but a torn hammy away from blowing in the middle. Berry likewise will be on the flag. Our very own George Ayoub will be a TMO, so he could have some impact too.

        • bad ass

          I wish you had told me this twenty years ago.

        • Nutta

          So do I… (that is someone said it to me – not saying someone should of told you 20yrs ago. Oh fk it, you know what I mean.)

      • Keith Butler

        Owens is a pretty good ref. The only reason he treats ‘some’ players like children is that they act like children instead of the ‘professionals’ they are meant to be.

      • bad ass

        Yeah, that call against White was ludicrous.

  • Mart

    The Poite factor is a big worry

  • Mart

    Even though i was chanting with the crowd at the Waratahs game in sydney, I still think Joubert is one of the better international Ref’s going around

    • Jimmydubs

      He robbed France in 2011 due to a home crowd. I still struggle with that.

      • Sean JJ

        NZ was the best team at the 2011 RWC. You should not struggle with that.

        • m0b1us

          There were only two teams in the final though. NZ were the second best of those two teams.

        • Davey

          Just not in the final.

        • Jimmydubs

          France was the best team on that day. You can’t average performances to justify a ref having a biased shocker toward the team that ‘should’ win. It was a bloody farce.

        • Robert Williams

          Usual nonsense ,so if France had kicked all their penalties they would have won wouldnt they ? And they got away with plenty but all those with an axe to grind against the ABs conveniently forget that ,and that prat who got away with gouging Maccaws eyes .

  • This is interesting analysis and all, but let’s not start blaming referees for our losses (or pre-empting blame). The referees in charge at the World Cup are the best in the world and they are going there to do their job – referee fairly and to the best of their ability. They personally have no idea of their win and loss record with certain teams is and as such it won’t factor into their onfield performance.

    If the Wallabies play well and keep their discipline, then they will relegate the referee to the non-factor they should be.

    • Nick

      The end of the article best sums it up. This new Wallabies team has a much better aura about them than those of the past 5 years. We are on the up and as Wayne Barnes is my witness, we shall bring back Bill.

    • Nutta

      Always remember Law 6A4A – Ref is sole judge of fact, law & score

      • Lindommer

        But not necessarily time: a referee can delegate time keeping to the TJ/ARs and/or an official time-keeper. Law 5.3.

    • Ian

      Be fair tho. Some of these refs are certainly biased. Sad but true. The only way around it is to absolutely thump the opposition. Leave no doubt as to who is winning.

      • Spank

        One rule. Don’t leave the game in the hands of the referee.

    • bad ass

      Agree with Nick below. When the game hinges on a penalty goal, the refs decide and have made dubious calls in the past. They are not perfect humans.

  • Nick

    Don’t forget the Kiwis still go on about Barnes costing them their 07 World Cup. It should be law that all of our matches are played under him.

    • Harry

      Ah, the deep-rooted bitterness that has built-up after 15 years without the Bledisloe Cup. Keep counting boys…

      • Nick

        Not bitter, just a light-heated jibe. I hope my answer is suitable to the All Black Overlord Masters.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Bring back Andre Watson I say! He was the bomb!

    • Xaviera

      He had a few issues. Might still do….

  • Good picture of Poite greeting the German team in the traditional French way.

    • Xaviera

      Love your work. How many men does it take to defend Paris? No-one knows – it has never been done.

      • Robert Williams

        Franco Prussian war the French defended for months .

        • Xaviera

          Yep, and still lost, as ever. The mystery remains….

  • skip

    I like the article a lot but judging Joobers on his performance in the 2011 final is maybe unenlightening. He had a complete stinker that day & may as well have given Saint Ruchie the pea pusher.

    • Terry Symonds

      You mean the same game McCaw played with a broken bone in his foot and was still highly effective in getting the job done in the final.

      Just imagine for 1 brief second that Richie actually wore the green and gold of Australia and not the black of New Zealand. I can picture the praise now. The undisputed admiration, the widespread respect. Instead there is only envy and bitterness. Sad really.

      • Nutta

        And you come onto a site called “Green & Gold Rugby” expecting to hear what exactly? I don’t go & log onto The Greens forum expecting to hear pro Liberal views…

      • skip

        Yes. I mean that game. What’s actually sad is you took a critique of the referee & went off on a bizaare rant about a player who played to the ref. There’s not a bad word about Richie personally in my post but somehow you found it. one might almost think you’re being really a precious priness about it and looking. The odd thing is, i’ve actually had an e mail i sent read by an NZ TV Rugby show praising him (after the HK test). Bet that surprises you.

  • klaus

    Owens is too easily swayed by a crowd. He missed plenty in the Eden Park game and was appalling in Mendoza last October. I was there and the crowd was the only reason he blew his whistle only many occasions.

    • qwas

      Not to mention the looking at replays when the home crowd draws his attention to it.

  • idiot savant

    You have to remember that Nigel has grown up swimming against a tide and is possibly highly attuned to discrimination. An Australian captain would do well to to know that and remind his troops to watch what they say.

    • qwas

      You mean we should make pocock captain for that game and let him quietly mention his current marital stance?

      • idiot savant

        Ha ha. Yes. Nicely restrained answer for a PC world.

  • Fatflanker

    If England could have hand-picked the ref against Australia Poite would no doubt have been the choice. Perhaps he will surprise us. Here’s hoping for a decent contest anyway – if we’re driven back fair and square then so be it but let’s not have any of the BS ‘four-man front row’ and associated shenanigans we saw last year.

  • subfreq

    I have no idea how Romain Poite remains on the international ref’s panel. I see a fair bit of him up here in Europe and at the end of every game you are left scratching your head at his decisions. In almost every game he backs himself into corner with abstract calls and then has to maintain them for the 80 minutes.

    He is certainly the Salvador Dali of referees when it comes to interpreting a scrum. England will be delighted with him for the pool game. They should be able to get away with every single piece of skull duggery in the book.

  • Timmy Twickers

    Nice attempt by you lot down-under there to undertake such detailed pre-game analysis. What confuses me most though is we all know how you Australians will react after the game. If the Wallbies win, you’ll all be complimentary of the referee. However, if you lose then whether it’s Messr Poite, Joubert, Pollock, Gauzere, Barnes or Owens you’ll all tee-off on the referee as being the single catalyst for the loss.

    You’ll all dredge over all his supposed mistakes (but of course, conveniently overlook the mistakes that go the Wallabies way) as a means to mask the Wallabies inferiority that led to the loss. You attempted this nonsense when the British & Irish Lions royally stuffed you in 2013 and during the Wallaby slippage that followed, you persevered with the same painfully boring antics. It’s gotten so bad it’s now actually comical, particularly like that last test match in New Zealand when hammered by 5 tries to 1, but it was Nigel Owens who was singled out for all the post-match criticism.

    Of course all this has added humour knowing that Australia do not have 1 referee worthy of officiating in this year’s Rugby World Cup. If every international referee is really so bad, what does that tell us about the quality referee’s down there in Australia? Maybe you Aussies should look at your own contribution to international rugby refereeing before getting all vocal about everyone else’s. Particularly like the names mentioned in your article who all happen to be ranked in the IRB top panel. Maybe just maybe, sometimes your Wallabies lose because they were beaten by a better team. You’ll see that in a few weeks.

    • Who?

      Timmy, Timmy, Timmy… Lots of bile there! A few points to consider:

      1. The Lions were worthy winners of the last series. Don’t think you’ll find anyone who said otherwise. I do recall lots of complaints – from the NH – about Pollock after the first game, given he penalized BOD twice – rightly – in the first few minutes for having his hands on the deck before jackalling (I hate that term – and in arguing in favour of penalizing BOD, let me add I’m Irish-Australian – dual citizen and all, and was sitting next to a bloke fresh off the plane from Cork). I recall stating that I disagreed with the penalty Poite blew that gave Alexander his YC in the 3rd test, but that he’d equally given BA the benefit of the doubt in an earlier scrum when he’d been at fault. But again, the Lions were worthy winners. If I’ve any complaints, it’s that the Lions waited until the 3rd Test before they actually started playing any Rugby!!!

      2. No one actually blamed NO for the loss in Auckland. He had a poor game – as recorded more forthrightly than most by the NZ-resident Englishman Mark Reason – but he played with the margin, not the outcome. The ABs were worthy winners, being the team that adapted better after Sydney (significantly changing their game plan, going back to basics, and showing that they’re still the best team going round).

      3. You complain we overlook when things go our way. Who ever claimed that they were unbiased in their own analysis after a match?! Everyone’s biased! The question is, who has the most to complain about? I’ve seen plenty of Kiwis complaining about Barnes after the Sydney Test this year. Many of those were already nervous when they saw he was reffing the game, as they’ll never trust the reffing in a game involving Barnes and the ABs. How’s that worse than us?

      4. Arguably the best SH ref this year was Angus Gardiner. From Australia. But the appointments weren’t ever going to give a green international ref a go. Instead, we got a collection of blokes of varying competence. Reffing is like everything else on the field – it’s of variable quality, and refs have good days, bad days, and runs of form. But you don’t usually take a squad full of green players to a RWC. And similarly you don’t see rookie refs at the RWC – at least, not since 07 and Wayne Barnes (who is a very good ref).

      5. There’s no IRB top panel – there’s no IRB. :-P
      More seriously, being rated by the ref panel at World Rugby gives me no reason for confidence in the ref’s capacity. World Rugby got Brian Ashton to do all that work on the new scrum laws, but the reffing panel hasn’t yet managed to get them implemented consistently. There’s certainly no strict application – at top level – of ‘square and steady’, yet if you listen to Ashton’s position, it’s incredibly important. Take it away, and straight feeds don’t work, debasing the whole system.
      I had a top level ref recently say, “Rugby’s a game played on your feet – well, maybe not at the top level, but certainly at other levels…” So, again, a tacit admission by a ref that the elite game isn’t reffed as the laws intend. Yet it’s reffed at the top level by refs appointed by the World Rugby panel. So I’ve no reason to base my personal opinions of the quality and style of reffing by international level refs on the positions taken by the World Rugby panel. I know my laws, better than most, and my interpretations are mine. How’s my viewpoint any less valid than yours? And why should I trust an international body? If I can disagree with my national coach about selections, then I can certainly disagree with a bunch of (usually) faceless bureaucrats! As can you.

      • Timmy Twickers

        Who Who Who… You are once again falling into that great Australian trait of focusing on outliers to support your view instead of dissecting the consensus opinion behind why the Wallabies have only won 50% of their tests played in the past 3 seasons.

        I am guessing you also subscribe to the belief that it’s referee interpretation of English scrummaging or New Zealand loose forward play at breakdowns behind why the Wallabies are so typically outplayed in those key areas of the game. Nothing of course to do with opposition superiority. It’s always just poor officiating, irrespective of whoever has the whistle on the day.

        Still, when all else fails, it’s not always entirely the referee’s fault for you Wallaby fans is it? I mean you’ve relied on kicking the coach now for 5 years when referee blame has only taken you so far for that 50% win record. You booted out the NZ import Deans only to turn on one of your own in poor McKenzie soon after. What’s the fate for poor Mr Cheika if his 2 hookers, 2 halfbacks, questionable locks selection and unsettled 9, 10, 12 combination blows up in his face at the RWC? Will he be torched at the stake too in Pitt Street?

        Thank God for Angus Gardiner. Oh that’s right, outlier versus consensus.

        • Oscar dT

          Just ignore them Tmmy. I mean it’s only in Australia would you read such a pointless article as this one.

          You got to understand these Wallaby fans for many years now have been served up a below average Wallaby side full of too many players often regarded as the best in their position in Australia, but fall short of being international standard. The problem is further complicated because many of these players are also soft mentally. When the stress goes on in key test matches they falter and make mistakes. The good sides punish them for it and they lose. In the case of New Zealand they lose often and have failed to win the contested Bledisloe Cup trophy since 2002.

          Somehow though the poor Wallaby fans want to point the finger at the referee, or the crowd or the coach or other stupid stuff for all their under performance. Amazingly, they have yet to work out that the really good sides take the referee out of the contest. They make sure the quality of their performance is so high that the referee will have very little bearing on the outcome.

          The Wallabies and their poor suffering fans have yet to make that adjustment. That’s why after every Wallaby loss (there has been 16 in the past 3 years) there is always this amusing whinging about the referee and not enough on their poor-performing team. This article only serves to notice that the same tactics are set to emerge in this upcoming RWC. Joubert, Pollock, Poite, Barnes and Owens will all be the reason the Wallabies lose. It never changes.

        • Who?

          Consensus opinion? Really? We’re ignoring it? Since when? Please explain where in my post above I blamed a ref for a loss? I complained that the Lions didn’t play to their true potential in the first two Tests, I said that NZ were the better side in Auckland, whilst saying that I didn’t think Owens had a good game – as agreed by the Englishman Mark Reason.

          I do think that the English team has generally outscrummed the Wallabies. I also think they’ve occasionally used that dominance to play silly games for penalties (like dropping the scrum) rather than just demolishing the Wallabies (driving 5m through us, which they often could have done in the past – I’m making no predictions about this year, either way), but that doesn’t change the fact they’ve generally outscrummed us.

          I don’t see you complaining about Kiwis saying the Wallabies got away with heaps in the Sydney Test. But I pointed out the ABs changed tactics in the Auckland Test (as did the Wallabies – to their detriment), heavily contesting the breakdown for the duration of the match for the first time in quite a few years. It’s been their tactic to leave the breakdown mostly uncontested whenever possible to fan out into their (tight) defensive line and offer fool’s gold space on the outside, which they’ve then shut down through excellent cover defence (this isn’t just my viewpoint, there’s numerous articles about it all the way back to when Scott Allen wrote on here). This is why the Wallabies dominated the breakdown in Sydney (and similarly won the breakdown for the majority of the match in Brisbane last year) – it wasn’t just a good Wallaby performance, but it was also NZ tactics.

          I blamed Deans for our results when he was coach, but that was fair – he had years and his results didn’t change. McKenzie copped it from a player revolt backed by political rot – I don’t believe he truly lost the support of the public. Not the majority. And while we question Cheika’s decision to take only 2 hookers, 2 scrumhalves and his lock selections, it’s still early days for him, so he should be given some slack.

          And, Angus Gardiner an outlier? Sure – just as every other nation only really has one quality ref – if that. Barnes is England’s ref. Owens is Wales’ ref. I’m not a fan, but Joubert is SA’s ref, although Peyper’s rediscovered some form of late. Pollock for NZ (Jackson is horribly inconsistent). Clancy’s too inconsistent still, so I’m not sure Ireland has one. Can’t think of a good one from Scotland. Or France (not Poite, not Garces). Or Italy. Or Argentina.

          Then again, I’m sure you’ve never complained about Richie McCaw, that you completely disagree with Jones, Reason, et al. And I’m sure the English haven’t ever analysed refs. And that they don’t traditionally have a QC in their RWC support party. Oh, hang on…

        • merle

          No one here has blamed the referees for our losses, they are just noting that we have a better record for some than others.

          We won’t need to torch Cheika we’ll just torch your strawman as it will light up the Southern Hemisphere and keep us all warm.

    • bad ass

      Poite and Owens mistakes tend to be one way. Poite reffing the England v Australia match is very suspicious. I don’t for one second believe the poms play all of thier footy on the field. The Poms are not to be trusted.

    • Nutta

      Ok, so does this self-righteous pimple win the award for “First Northern Wanker to Off-Shore Troll for World Cup 2015″? I’m pretty sure this is the first serious attempt from a Thames Tossa I’ve seen this time around. Any takers or is this wanker the 1st one for the season (surely there are more coming)?

      Timmy you numb-nut you have come to site called “Green & Gold Rugby”. I’m not sure if the name confuses you or if your poor diet and lack of natural exercise (common where you come from) stunted your development and precluded you from grasping the underlying tones and implied bias likely to be found on a site with such a title. In which case you are an idiot and we can’t help that. Or perhaps you have a life so empty of joy and content that this is how you fill your long, sad and lonely nights by trawling and trolling on-line for some rugby-spank material. In which case you’re a wanker and we can’t help that either.

      Either way, we openly welcome well considered constructive content from off-shore. You will find this an open and accommodating site. But if what’s above is your soup du jour then you can bugger off back to your Tom Browns Schooldays and your Public School Bondage sites and try not to choke on your gag ball you thirteen-fingered, in-bred, under-nourished, East-Ender-Wish-I-Was-A-Geordie-Shore-Wannabe.

      • Nutta

        Wow… I’ve come back and checked and there are more of them! Are these guy seriously surprised that folk take an interest in the refs and how we have performed under them? Or are we just the only ones to admit we do so?

        • Nick

          I think GAGR has been overrun!

    • Nick

      Mate it’s not the refereeing world cup. Couldn’t give two shits where the refs come from.

  • English Aussie

    This is a load of BS….. Being Australian and some who has been through the ARU system, I am ashamed of this stupid weak ass article. Simply, WE are not good enough. Don’t blame anyone else except the over priced players and the silly leadership at the ARU. How can we complete when we only have 1 tier of rugby between Super 15 and Club rugby, whereas some nations have 3 or 4 different tiers. It is plain and simple, we are not good enough.

    • Chynners

      English Aussie – thanks for the feedback.
      There a couple of things that you might have missed on your first read:
      1. The point of the article was not to blame all of our failures on the referee. There is no part of the article that says the Wallabies failures are due to always having to play under Owens or Poite. On a closer read, you might identify that the influence of the referee was introduced at the margin – i.e. as the tipping point between two evenly matched sides. The remainder of the article then goes on to look at what the stats tell us in terms of trends.
      2. There is a clear acknowledgement in the article that there are a number of factors that go into a result “including, most importantly the skill and commitment of the teams”.
      It’s clear that you have strong opinions on how Australian rugby has failed to compete at the top (although, I note that we are currently 2nd in the world). Perhaps you would like to express these opinions, and how Australia might fix the problem, in your own article. I promise I won’t call it “weak ass”.

    • Nutta

      Looking forward to reading your article on the topic then EA. It’s a free site mate. No one is a pro here (as far as I know). Put up your premise and your argument for peer review.

  • Liam Brady

    Only country in the world that would undertake such nonsense. You can tell by the commentary how nervous they all are getting. Most countries analysing player personnel and match day strategies. Only in whinging Australia are they building a targeted attack against every referee – irrespective of their experience or nationality. Beyond pointless.

    • Nutta

      So you take the time to read, consider and respond to someone else’s offering that you consider “beyond pointless”? That says a great deal about your excitement filled life. You’re a troll. Bugger off and have a nice day.

    • Jim
    • ‘The only country’ – except for every coach taking a team to the world cup.

      It’s been stock standard for years – you should catch up

      • I was an ARU liaison officer to the English team during RWC 2003, even then, the English team had a former international referee in their touring party to analyse each referee that they would be having, and they would instruct the team how best to handle that particular referee’s idiosyncrasies, I’ve spent a lot of time in club rugby and you can’t tell me that if Souths were to play Norths, the ref wouldn’t go into the game thinking that souths were stronger and that if there was an upset, that it could be his doing, so they definitely lean to the perceived stronger team and thus perpetuating the weaker team staying weaker

  • Le Bird

    If there are any upsets or blowouts against the Wallabies could almost guarantee it will be with Nigel Owens as the ref.

  • hook

    Wayne Barns’s is a horrible referee. As a kiwi, i think his refereeing had nothing to do with Australia’s wins over NZ. Simply out-played the All Blacks (that was tough to admit). And Mark Reason is a horrible journalist and writes articles that could be considered as trolling as he gets huge amounts of responses from them.
    Pollock and Joubert aren’t too bad while I would agree that Owens gives us the nod most of the time. Partially due to King Richard although JDV has a similar effect. Poite is average although, from memory, these games were in a time of Australias scrum being one of their biggest weaknesses
    Really hoping for an AUS – NZ final.

  • Chynners

    Hi All

    Chris Pollock has been withdrawn from the match against Fiji. I understand he has gone home for compassionate leave. His replacement is fellow New Zealander, Glen Jackson.

    How is our record under Jackson since the 2011 world cup? Mixed. We’ve won 2 out of 3, including a thrashing of Italy in Torino and a narrow loss to Ireland last year in Dublin. Each match we have played under him has been free flowing and we average 4.1 tries per match.

    Our scrum record is actually fairly poor under Jackson, a meagre 65%. Hopefully this can be overcome against an improving Fijian scrum.

  • Rebels Ruck

    A little bit off topic, but is anyone else surprised that only 1 Aussie ref is on the panel at the World Cup, and only as an assistant? How are our referee stocks so poor that the minute Steve Walsh retires there is no one else good enough for the international panel. Surely Angus Gardiner is better than a couple of the 4 French refs on the panel!

  • Robert Williams

    For the Wallies anyway.


An average rugby player, Chynners earned his reputation as a ball hog simply because he couldn't pass. Based in Sydney and an avid rugby follower, Chynners is hoping Australian rugby will get back to its glory days.

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