Bernard Foley’s head was still spinning on Friday morning, adamant referee Mathieu Raynal told him time was off before penalising him for delaying the game that cost the Wallabies victory against the All Blacks on Thursday night.
Trying to make sense of the final-minute chaos, when the ball was taken from his hands with the Wallabies up 37-34 and given to the Kiwis who scored to win the game, Foley said the combination of the deafening noise inside Marvel Stadium and Raynal’s confusing calls added to the mayhem.
But the veteran five-eighth, recalled to coach Dave Rennie’s side for the clash, still wasn’t sure what he did wrong.
“There’s still a bit of unknown, just trying to digest the whole situation,” he said on Friday morning.
“There was a bit of confusion just in terms of personnel on the field, Just trying to get a call, it was pretty loud in the stadium.
“My conversation was he told me to hurry up but the time was off, so he didn’t really mention there was going to be any further action, then starting the clock again.”
Raynal was adamant, when questioned by Wallabies players after awarding a scrum to the All Blacks, that time was off before he blew the penalty.
Footage also showed Foley’s own teammates urging him to kick the ball before Raynal acted.
Critics raged on Friday about the ugly end to the match that Wallabies captain James Slipper, who was on bench at the time, said left him “unfulfilled”.
Slipper said he had never seen the rule used in a game and questioned whether the referee would make the same call at the start of a match.
“You know the rule is there. There’s plenty of rules I believe that aren’t ruled on throughout the game, there are that many rules,” he said.
“The boys are just gutted. I just feel unfulfilled. I have played 120-odd Tests and I have never seen it. It would be interesting if that would be the call 10 minutes into the game.”
Rennie said the Wallabies would put a “please explain” to World Rugby, also having never seen anything like it in his time in the sport.
“The rule book is complex. I’m sure there is something in there somewhere that is never reffed upon,” he said.
“It’s an incredibly disappointing way to finish.
“If you feel a team is wasting time, stop the clock. Let the teams decide the outcome.”