Aussie linesman Angus Gardner has come under fire for a missed call that gave the All Blacks the upper hand against the Wallabies in their first Bledisloe Cup clash.
The Wallabies narrowly missed out on snapping their 19-year losing streak across the ditch in a thrilling 16-16 draw, and if it weren’t for a dud call early in the contest, they may have gone a step further.
After absorbing all the pressure in the opening minutes, it was the Kiwis who struck first through Jordie Barrett who found himself over down the right flank with acres of space.
But replays showed that the opener shouldn’t have stood, after New Zealand’s Rieko Ioane had stepped into touch in build-up play.
Ioane was shown clearly out of the field of play as he stormed down the left flank in the lead up to the try, but sensationally, it was missed by Gardner who had a full view of the moment.
The try had Australia on the back foot early and chasing the game for the remainder of the evening until they stormed into the lead in the dying minutes.
They looked set achieve the near-impossible when the All Blacks managed to lock the game up at 16-16 and spark a manic period of extra time before finally the game ended in a draw.
Gardner – Australia’s top official – will take charge of the second Bledisloe Cup match next weekend, as COVID-19 restrictions forced the competition to use local referees.