Ollie Ritchie: Questionable officiating blights epic Rugby World Cup final, historic Springboks victory

OPINION: There were certainly some contentious decisions made out in the middle and by the TMO during the Rugby World Cup final - and you have to look at them in a couple of parts.

You can't argue that All Blacks captain Sam Cane had to be shown a red card - that is not in dispute - but you have to have consistency in a World Cup final.

If you're going to upgrade Sam Cane's yellow card to a red, you have to upgrade Siya Kolisi's as well. They were very similar incidents and Siya Kolisi can consider himself very fortunate not to have a red card as well.

That red card didn't help the All Blacks, reflects Ollie Ritchie.
That red card didn't help the All Blacks, reflects Ollie Ritchie. Photo credit: Photosport/Newshub

In terms of the TV match official, it's not how much it's being used or the decisions they're being asked to make - they're the right decisions, but they're coming into play far too often.

We don't want spectacles like World Cup finals dominated by the TMO. We've seen this time and time again.

The callback on Aaron Smith's try - the knockon happened right in front of us, yet it took them several phases to decide it had been knocked on and it had to go to the TMO. It just sucks the life out of the game.

It's disappointing that, after such an epic World Cup final and a great victory by the Springboks, all the talk is about officiating and the TMOs.

Officiating aside, it really was a tale of two halves. That first half was all Springboks and the All Blacks just couldn't get into the game.

They were absolutely smothered by the Springbok defence and making uncharacteristic errors. They were trying a little bit too hard, trying to force passes that weren't there.

When you come up against a Springboks team this good, you just can't afford to do that, but they slowly built into the game.

In the second half, when Aaron Smith's try was disallowed and then Beauden Barrett went over to score, you could really feel a lift in the All Blacks' game. You started to feel a bit of momentum swing their way.

There were key moments - Richie Mo'unga missing that conversion and Jordie Barrett missing that penalty were crucial - but you did feel a lift in that second half.

Unfortunately for the All Blacks, it was just too little too late.

The Ian Foster coaching era has been tumultuous. It didn't start off so well and he had historic lows.

2022 will be the year people remember, with losses to Ireland and Argentina, and losses on the end-of-year tour the year before to Ireland and France.

A change had to come fast. Two assistant coaches were sacked, Jason Ryan and Joe Schmidt were brought in, and when it was Foster-Ryan-Schmidt, you could actually start to see the progress that Foster felt they were capable of making.

Over the past 18 months, they rode that wave. There were lows again this year against South Africa and France, but a World Cup final and silver medallists are a pretty good end to Ian Foster's tenure.

Ollie Ritchie is Newshub's rugby reporter at the World Cup