Rugby World Cup 2011
Lawrence: I made mistakes in RWC quarter-final
January 21, 2012
Australia beat South Africa to a place in the RWC semi-finals last October © Getty Images
New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence has spoken about his role in the controversial World Cup quarter-final between Australia and South Africa.
Lawrence came in from huge criticism for his performance after the World Champions were dumped out of the competitions despite making most of the running against the Wallabies. And the New Zealander admits he made mistakes during the game and failed to referee the game to his best. He also revealed the torrent of abuse he received from disgruntled fans in the fallout from the match last October.
"From the quarter-final through the first two weeks after that, it was pretty hectic," he told the New Zealand Herald. "I was getting messages via Facebook and my computer: 'Watch your back when you get here because I'm going to take you out and I can't wait for you get here so I can spit on you'."
"I wasn't too worried about people telling me they couldn't wait until I got to South Africa so they could spit on me. That could happen in Te Puke, too." "The criticism didn't hurt me that much because I know I didn't referee as well as I should have," Lawrence said. "I took a plan of not being overly technical into that game and possibly that was not the right plan.
"To then get to my biggest game and not referee anywhere near as well, I let myself down and I also let the team down. We were trying to pride ourselves on consistent performances so I felt I'd let them down.
"It only really hurt when it became personal, when people started saying it was a fix-up and I'd done it so the All Blacks could get through. That hurt. That's an attack on your integrity and everything you stand for. The criticism that I should have refereed better, I totally accept.
"I'd done my self-review and realised I'd missed a couple of things, but you can't get overly concerned about that because I had just missed them - it wasn't as if I'd seen them and decided not to do anything."
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