Lawrence Dallaglio comments on referee blow up as Matt Williams trolls Springboks 4 months ago

Lawrence Dallaglio comments on referee blow up as Matt Williams trolls Springboks

God bless this mess.

Lawrence Dallaglio was viewing that England World Cup semi-final against South Africa through some red rose-tinted glasses.

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The former England and Lions No.8 was on the punditry beat for ITV as Steve Borthwick's side attempted to reach yet another World Cup final. They had the edge - physically and tactically - over South Africa for 65 minutes and led 15-6 with less than a quarter of the game to go.

In the end, though, the South Africa bench earned its' Bomb Squad nickname as they came on to turn the game around and blow English hopes to smithereens. Their pack won the penalties that gained their territory and chances, which in turn led to an RG Snyman try and a match-winning Handré Pollard penalty.

Post-match, Dallaglio fumed at what he deemed to be poor calls by Australian referee Ben O'Keeffe that turned the tide in the Springboks' favour. The former England captain said:

"O’Keeffe is going to be the talking point as he’s won them the game – not South Africa,” Lawrence Dallaglio declared. "I just think in the final analysis we couldn’t build scoreboard pressure. We had a couple of opportunities in the 22, one scrum, one lineout that went missing.

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"The Bomb Squad came on, four penalties given away in the last 10 minutes. I’ve got to say, not as a sore loser but independently, that’s a questionable penalty that wins the game.

"I think England can feel heartbroken but South Africa deserved it because, a bit like France, the quality in depth on the bench was enough to get them over the line."

Looking back on the performance of Ben O'Keeffe, former Ireland flanker Alan Quinlan observed, over on Virgin Media, that the referee gave England three penalties, during the match, that could have easily went to South Africa. For the final scrum penalty, while Vincent Koch and Pieter Steph du Toit were driving in, so was England prop Ellis Genge.

Lawrence Dallaglio Matt Williams (left) and Lawrence Dallaglio.
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Matt Williams winds up South Africa, again

While England legend and English tub-thumper Lawrence Dallaglio was giving his "independent" view, over on ITV, Matt Williams was digging in for another crack at the Springboks.

Not at all a fan of the way South Africa have played 6:2 and 7:1 [forwards to backs] bench splits, and relied on grinding teams down, the former Leinster and Ulster coach was not going to give the Boks much post-match credit.

Refusing to acknowledge that The Bomb Squad had made a difference - "it wasn't them, it was the four scrum penalties" - the Aussie then went on a tangent where he challenged World Rugby to take the sting out of scrummaging. He wants the scrum to be merely used as a tool to restart games, rather than the energy sapping focal point it can be on wet nights like we had in Paris, on Saturday.

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In another, pre-match, debate, Matt Williams had argued Rassie Erasmus was damaging the game with his off-putting takes on Twitter, by bending laws to focus on physicality and by pressuring referees with comments before and after matches.

Virgin Media fans were asked to take a poll and, when most responded that Erasmus was advancing the game, Williams took umbrage.

"Dear people of Ireland," he declared, "we need to talk."

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Nick Mallet on Owen Farrell

Meanwhile, down in South Africa, former Boks coach Nick Mallet spotted a moment in the semi-final where, in his opinion, England captain Owen Farrell should have been yellow-carded.

At half-time of South Africa's 16-15 win, Mallet highlighted Farrell raising his knee, when on the ground and on the wrong side of the ruck, to spoil a Damian De Allende pass, inside the England 22.

Ben O'Keeffe took some heat for that call, too.

Sometimes, there's no pleasing anyone.

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