Luke Fitzgerald says Romain Poite's call was an 'absolute stinker' but All Blacks had it coming
Luke Fitzgerald has described French referee Romain Poite's decision to downgrade a crucial late penalty to a scrum in last Saturday's dramatic draw between the Lions and the All Blacks as an 'absolute stinker'.
The Kiwis looked set to edge the game and the series when Poite awarded the penalty for Ken Owens' offside in the dying minutes of the game but adjudged it to have been an accidental offside after consulting the TMO.
The decision meant that the All Blacks had to settle for a drawn game and a drawn series which Fitzgerald described as 'deflating'.
"I thought when they went back to check it, they were seeing if Kieran Read had knocked it on but it looks like a stonewall offside," he told today's episode of The Left Wing.
"I've never seen this before and it looks like they only went there (to the TMO) because of the enormity of the decision. There has been talk that he has made the right ruling but I can't see how.
You could see that Kieran Read was pretty incredulous and I think the Lions really got away with one there.
"It was an absolute stinker. That was the first word that came to mind."
There was very little sympathy from Fitzgerald for Steve Hansen's men and he referred to last November's highly controversial victory over Ireland at the Aviva following on from the victory of Joe Schmidt's side in Chicago.
"It was nice from our perspective to see them come out on the wrong side of a decision. They've doled out a few shaftings themselves over the last few years. The one that springs to mind was the 'Blacklash' at the Aviva," he added.
"I think they were lucky to get away with a few of the decisions that day. Everyone was saying how it was an incredible performance by them. I thought it was a mixed performance and I thought they should have had one or two guys red-carded. I thought it was very lucky."