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 first game of the Lions tour of New Zealand was swept into controversy following a horrific spear tackle on Captain Brian O’Driscoll, which ended his tour within minutes. The tackle, with O’Driscoll picked up by two players in the ruck, was against the rules, but the ref waved play on.
The moment caused a major knock-on effect in World Rugby, tightening up restrictions on spear tackling.