In world rugby, the referees have one of the toughest jobs. Every one of their decisions could have a major impact on the outcome of the game, and possibly the season.
Every referee has to make difficult decisions and will get criticized at some point in time by players, coaches and most often, the fans.
The best referees around are those who can live with criticism and can make the correct decision most of the time.
However, there have been a number of blatant blunders by officials in the past. Here are five of the worst errors.
Worst refereeing decisions in rugby:
1. Speargate on the Lions Tour
The Lions tour of New Zealand kicked off with a storm of controversy as a brutal spear tackle on Captain Brian O’Driscoll halted his tour within mere minutes. In a shocking display, O’Driscoll was lifted by two players in the ruck, a clear violation of the rules, yet the referee allowed play to continue.
This pivotal moment reverberated throughout the world of rugby, prompting a significant response from authorities to tighten restrictions on such dangerous tackles.