Tuesday, October 4, 2022

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Wallaby Lalakai Foteki explains why he yelled at Bernard Foley before call from horrible Bledisloe Cup referee

Wallabies star Lalakai Foteki has opened up about footage that appears to show him yelling at team-mate Bernard Foley – and insists all is not as it seems.

It follows Australia’s devastating and highly controversial Bledisloe Cup defeat by New Zealand last Thursday, when referee Mathieu Raynal sealed the Wallabies’ fate with a last-minute penalty shoot-out.

With victory all but assured, Raynal punished Foley for wasting his time and quickly envisioned Foteki appearing to be yelling at his teammates to hurry up.

It was used by the highly regarded ex-referee Nigel Owens as proof that Raynal made the right decision to kick off what many derided as the worst decision in rugby union history.

According to Foteki, that’s far from the case.

The Star-Center said he was just trying to make sure the right people were on the field in the final seconds of the game.

‘We [the Wallabies] were so far from the ref and the crowd went nuts. [we] couldn’t hear anything,” Foteki said of the now-viral video of him screaming.

“I think from a back perspective we were out there and we kind of had the same people on the field and we just felt like we had a chance to win the game when we knocked the ball out.

‘Obviously “Nard” [Foley] looked at the huddled forward group and I think they were just trying to prepare for when we were going to get the penalty and what we were going to do in that last minute.

“I just think the staff is changing and Nard was trying to find out who was on the field and what calls were going on before we made our next move and that was to throw the ball out.”

Angry Wallabies skipper Nic White protested at Raynal after the match, telling him to punish Foley as he was “two seconds” from “costing Australia the rugby championship”.

Raynal has not only been slammed by current and former Wallabies greats, but also by prominent rugby union greats around the world.

Burnt out ex-wallaby Matt Giteau tweeted: “Awesome competition that must have been ruined by that last phone call…can’t believe it. Congratulations @AllBlacks &@wallabies on an unreal game! Such a cruel ending’, after the controversial ending.

Commentator Tim Horan called the decision “disgraceful” and said Raynal “broke down under the pressure”; while Australia coach Dave Rennie also slammed the controversial verdict, telling reporters: “I’ve never seen a call like that at any level.”

Even All Blacks greats like Sir John Kirwan, Andrew Mehrtens and Jeff Wilson have dismissed the call.

“He had every right to make that decision, I don’t think it was appropriate in this case,” Wilson told Sky Sport in New Zealand.

Commentating on the game, ex-wallaby Morgan Turinui, as well as Wilson, pointed out that there was clearly a double standard at play.

“There is a law that you have 90 seconds from hitting the try to converting,” he said.

‘[But] twice in the game the All Blacks went over 90 seconds and the referee was right to ruin the game by being awkward and abandoning the attempt at conversion.

However, Foteki made it clear that Foley was not responsible for the game’s absurd ending.

“There was no disbelief and no feeling that the All Blacks would run away from us,” he said.

“It was just the belief that the leaders and Nard (Foley) would come in, stay controlled and give us our next role, and we just kind of walked into it.

“When we were on the field at that time when we were a couple of points down I felt like we were still good to just keep doing what we were doing and stay in the game.

“He (Foley) doesn’t need to apologize,” Foteki said.

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