Rugby Championship R5 wrap: Clarity needed from World Rugby after new footage emerges

The Rugby Championship will go down to the wire in Round 6, after the All Blacks and Springboks emerged victorious in contrasting circumstances in Melbourne and Buenos Aires respectively.

Certainly there was plenty to discuss from last Thursday's Bledisloe Cup opener, with one decision, in particular, dividing the rugby world.

Read on as we review that call -- and some of the other key talking points -- from the Round 5 action.


The fall-out from one of the most contentious decisions in rugby history continues, after new video footage of the Mathieu Raynal's communication with Bernard Foley and a post-match discussion with Nic White hit the airwaves on Sunday.

The Wallabies have also sought clarification from World Rugby on a number of points, a team spokesperson confirmed to ESPN, after the French referee awarded a scrum to the All Blacks in dramatic fashion at Marvel Stadium on Thursday night.

Having deemed Foley to be wasting time, Raynal set a scrum right in front of the Wallabies' sticks from which All Blacks fullback Jordie Barrett crossed in the corner a few phases later.

The try secured the All Blacks a dramatic 39-37 victory and saw the Bledisloe Cup retained for a 20th year.

Raynal's decision has been scrutinized the world over, with opinion divided over whether he was right to ping Foley or if the situation could have been better handled.

Certainly, Raynal had twice warned the Australians earlier in the match, while he also told Foley that "we play now" on multiple occasions after awarding the Wallabies a penalty for holding on at the breakdown.

However, in footage released by Australian broadcaster Channel 9, Raynal tells White in a heated conversation after the match that he said he told Foley he would award a scrum if the No. 10 didn't take the kick for line -- only original audio of the incident confirms no such instruction took place.

"Nic I'm sorry, you know exactly what I wanted," Raynal told White, while poking him in the chest, in the footage shown Sunday.

"I told you two times and then you still continue (wasting time)."

White then interjected, the scrum-half managing just enough restraint to avoid losing his cool completely.

"He was just about to kick it out and for two seconds," said White. "Mate, that just cost us The Rugby Championship."

Raynal then again defends his decision again.

"I tell you, you first, because you are the captain then I tell to your 10 (Foley)," Raynal responded.

"I'm warning him, I say 'if you don't play immediately, I will give a scrum'. So that's not fair what you did at the end, you just run the time and you know exactly. If you think I'm not capable to give a scrum, you're making a mistake. So now you know it."

It was at that point that Raynal walks away, the referee then departing Marvel Stadium alongside his assistants with the protection of stadium security.

While World Rugby isn't expected to comment publicly, the Wallabies want clarity on the decision and what that means for the game moving forward, as they attempt to pick up the pieces from their devastating defeat and reset for Saturday's return match in New Zealand.

Rugby fans, meanwhile, will continue to debate Raynal's call until they are blue in face. The majority will likely be able to accept the situation, however, if "time wasting" is refereed consistently from here on out.

That should include both keeping an eye on the clock for conversion and penalty attempts -- for which players are afforded 90 seconds, a limit Richie Mo'unga twice exceeded in Melbourne -- and when referees tell scrum-halves to "use it" at the back of a ruck, an instruction that means they have five seconds to move the ball on.

As for what length of time constitutes "time wasting", there is no clear parameters set out in World Rugby's lawbook. So does that mean 39 seconds -- the time elapsed from when Raynal first awarded the Wallabies a penalty to the moment he awarded the scrum -- is now the marker for which all refs should abide?


Wallabies lock Darcy Swain will front the SANZAAR judiciary hearing on Monday after he was cited for a dangerous cleanout on Quinn Tupaea in the first half of Thursday night's clash at Marvel Stadium.

Tupaea has since been ruled out for three months with an MCL and partial ACL injury, a devastating blow for a player who would have likely started at No. 12 this week in the absence of David Havili [concussion].

Swain's cleanout, in which he grabs Tupaea's left leg and then drives up from underneath in an awkward motion has largely been slammed on social media, while All Blacks coach Ian Foster said "we've got a real problem with it" when asked about the incident post-match.

And the Brumbies lock might well have a tough job defending his action, though it is expected he will make the case that he stumbled over winger Caleb Clarke, and that the cleanout of his Wallabies teammates also contributed to the nasty incident.

That is likely to be a tough sell, though, as the vision of Swain's actions paint an ugly picture. Having served a two-game ban for a head butt on Jonny Hill earlier this year, any reduction in a suspension, if he is found guilty, on the account of good character also appears unlikely.

Footage of All Blacks prop Fletcher Newell targeting the leg of Scott Sio with a cleanout has also emerged on social media, though SANZAAR has not taken any action and is not expected to do so.


After dominating on his Test debut against Australia in Auckland two years ago, All Blacks winger Caleb Clarke again created all sorts of issues for the Wallabies in Melbourne on Thursday night.

The Blues flyer, who did not play a Test in 2021 as he switched to sevens in search of a place at the Olympics was in devastating form at Marvel Stadium as he repeatedly opened up the Australian defence.

Clarke finished the match with 11 runs for 137 metres, adding three clean breaks and five tackle busts for good measure.

If the Wallabies are to end their drought at Eden Park, they somehow need to work out a way to nullify Clarke's impact or limit the amount of ball he is getting - as when he gets up a head of steam he is cutting them to pieces.

Clarke will likely be part of a new back three in Auckland, with Jordie Barrett tipped to switch to inside centre, with Will Jordan likely to shift to fullback and Sevu Reece in line to come onto the right wing.


South Africa were forced to survive a second-half rally from the Pumas, who closed to within two points as the match entered its final 10 minutes.

But thanks to late tries from Damian de Allende and then Malcolm Marx, the Springboks pulled clear again to win 36-20 and pick up the bonus point in the process.

And that may prove hugely pivotal when they run out onto King Park in Durban this weekend, as they sit level with the All Blacks on 14 points but in second spot by virtue of their for-and-against.

If the All Blacks lose to the Wallabies in Auckland - which has not happened since 1986 - the Springboks will need only to beat the Pumas to lift the Rugby Championship trophy. But if New Zealand win, the Springboks will need either to win with a bonus-point or improve their points differential so that it is better than the All Blacks.

If the All Blacks are to win handsomely, and pick up the bonus point in the process, then the Springboks will really have their work cut out for them in Durban.

But by playing the final match of the tournament they will at least have the luxury of knowing exactly what they need to do to secure the title.

After a difficult few weeks off the field, including allegations of positive drug tests within the squad, which they have rejected completely, the Springboks would love nothing more than to deny the All Blacks yet another Rugby Championship title.