5 Biggest Controversies in Bledisloe Cup History

Danny Coyle@dannyjpcoyleFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2014

5 Biggest Controversies in Bledisloe Cup History

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    Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

    The age-old rivalry between Australia and New Zealand has thrown up plenty of thrills and spills down the years, with a host of memorable matches and fine individual performances.

    There have also been some headline-grabbing moments of a different sort down the years.

    From acts of violence to questionable refereeing decisions, the Bledisloe Cup has had them all and these are five of the biggest controversies.

1. Richard Loe’s Forearm Smash

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    In 1992 Australia won the second Bledisloe Test after a thrilling 80 minutes.

    Fly-half Michael Lynagh gave one of his greatest performances and orchestrated the winning try for Paul Carozza, but Carozza is arguably remembered more for the forearm smash that broke his nose after scoring his first try, delivered by All Blacks enforcer Richard Loe.

    The uncompromising Waikato hard man had a reputation as one of the roughest players in world rugby and it was bolstered by this particularly nasty looking incident, which you can see at the end of this montage.

    The New Zealand Herald’s Gregor Paul recalled: “The incident left Loe the most reviled man in Australia and Carozza famous not for being a half-useful Wallaby, but for being king-hit.”

2. Kaplan’s Clock Enrages All Blacks

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    The second Test of the 2000 Bledisloe series left the New Zealand rugby public fuming at South African referee Jonathan Kaplan.

    The official added five minutes of injury time to the game despite pleas from the All Black players to blow the final whistle when they kicked the ball into touch.

    With 84 minutes on the clock, Kaplan than awarded a penalty to Australia which skipper John Eales famously kicked to win the game 24-23.

    When the referee did eventually call time, he left the field under a hailstorm of beer bottles, per BBC Sport.

3. Carter Evades Yellow for Blatant Trip

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    Dan Carter wears a gleaming halo in the eyes of the New Zealand rugby public, but his angelic image was tarnished in the 2004 Bledisloe clash when the fly-half stuck out a leg to bring down George Gregan to stop the Wallabies skipper taking a quick tap penalty.

    It was uncharacteristic of the No. 10, which was surprising enough, but the fact that referee Tony Spreadbury opted not to brandish a yellow card for what was a clear example of foul play was even more shocking.

4. Punch-Up Ends in Cannon Ban

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    A rain-soaked 2004 Bledisloe Test saw Wallabies hooker Brendon Cannon receive a yellow card followed by a two-week ban, per the Daily Mail (h/t Evening Standard), after a healthy scrap between the sides.

    The video footage shows Cannon push his open hand into opposite number Keven Mealamu’s face who responds by aiming a cuffing blow at Cannon’s head to irk the Australian at a ruck.

    Cannon retaliates with a straight right and before the referee even comes into shot there are at least three more All Blacks getting involved to deliver their own summary justice.

5. Gregan Thwarts Wilson

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    Not so much a controversial as a jaw-dropping moment the rugby world has never forgotten.

    New Zealand wing Jeff Wilson was heading for the corner and a game-winning try when Gregan intervened with a tackle that ensured a 20-16 win for the Wallabies.

    Wilson had sidestepped and sprinted his way clear and had gone airborne in his dive for the corner when the little scrum-half also left the floor and threw himself at his man.

    Gregan hit Wilson hard enough to dislodge the ball and write himself into Bledisloe folklore.