New Zealand Rugby
McCaw slams RWC'07 Barnes appointment
ESPN Staff
October 9, 2012
Richie McCaw struggles to face the media following their exit from the Rugby World Cup, France v New Zealand, Rugby World Cup, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, October 6, 2007
Richie McCaw struggles to face the media after their 2007 World Cup loss © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Wayne Barnes | Quade Cooper | Richie McCaw
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All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw has slammed 2007 World Cup organisers for appointing "the most inexperienced referee on the roster" for their quarter-final with France.

Former Kiwi coach Graham Henry revealed in July that he felt their shock exit to the hosts of the 2007 showpiece may have been down to match-fixing and highlighted the fact that in the last 60 minutes of the match the All Blacks were not awarded a penalty. He also scrutinised referee Wayne Barnes' decision to not penalise a perceived forward pass in the build-up to France's second try.

And McCaw, who was captain of the All Blacks in their 20-18 loss to France, has hit out at the organisers of the tournament in his new book The Open Side: "I don't blame Barnes, but I do blame the people who appointed the most inexperienced referee on the roster to a RWC quarter-final between the hosts and the favourites. I thought both teams deserved a referee with experience.

"My beef isn't with Barnes so much as with his inexperience. This was Barnes' biggest game by far. On the big stage, an inexperienced referee is likely to become so afraid of making a mistake that he stops making any decisions at all.

"By the end of it, I thought Barnes was frozen with fear and wouldn't make any big calls."

The skipper has also opened up about his feud with Wallabies fly-half Quade Cooper. The pair nearly came to blows in their 2011 World Cup semi-final and McCaw admits his regret at losing his cool during the match.

"There was a bit of post-game controversy around Quade Cooper's attempt to knee me in the head as he was extricating himself from a ruck," McCaw wrote. "The intent of what he was trying to do pissed me off more than the execution. Shortly after that happened, I was carrying and should have passed, but I lit up and I saw Quade standing in front of me and clattered into him instead.

"I was disappointed in myself doing that, letting it get personal. There's no need - players like Quade get sorted. Sooner or later they get their beans."

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