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Mathieu Maynal '100%' stands by time-wasting call on Bernard Foley in Australia's defeat to New Zealand

Mathieu Raynal defends his controversial late decision to penalise Australia's Bernard Foley for time-wasting against New Zealand; All Blacks scored a dramatic match-winning try off the resulting scrum to break Wallabies hearts

Referee Mathieu Raynal, right, awards a try to Australia as Australia's Bernard Foley looks on during their Bledisloe Cup rugby test match against New Zealand in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Sept 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)
Image: Raynal's decision was the focus of much debate

French referee Mathieu Raynal said he "100%" stands by his controversial decision to penalise Australia's Bernard Foley for time-wasting against the All Blacks earlier this month.

The Wallabies were leading the Rugby Championship test 37-34 in Melbourne when Raynal awarded them a penalty close to their own posts with less than two minutes on the clock.

Foley was preparing to kick the ball into touch but Raynal decided he was not moving quickly enough and instead awarded New Zealand a free kick. The visitors scored the winning try from the ensuing scrum.

"I always take responsibility for what I do. I take responsibility for this decision 100%," Raynal told French media after being named the country's referee of the year on Monday.

"I had the necessary reasons to take it. I know it's a decision that makes people talk, that makes a lot of noise, but I try to free myself from this context of pressure to make what seems to me the fairest calls.

"This is the heart of my job. And sometimes, it creates tensions, frustrations, controversies but I take responsibility for it. Things are never white or black but often grey."

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There was late controversy in the Bledisloe Cup encounter as Jordie Barrett scored a try in the 81st minute, following Maynal's decision

The all but unprecedented decision triggered a huge uproar in Australia with former Wallabies lining up to call it a "disgrace" and Rugby Australia writing to World Rugby to express their concerns.

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Raynal said he had avoided the news as much as possible in the days after the match.

"There was criticism but a lot of support," he added.

"To be honest, I deleted newspaper and social media apps so as not to follow everything that was going on. To preserve myself, I only kept Candy Crush."

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