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Tonga's astonishing response to World Cup heartbreak

The Daily Telegraph
Saturday, December 02, 2017

RUGBY league commentators remain divided over the decision to deny Andrew Fifita a match-winning last-gasp try.

NRL star Benji Marshall labelled the controversial decision by Matt Cecchin as unbelievable.

He labelled the end of the semi-final as the "craziest last five minutes of any game I have ever seen".

Aussie rugby league legend Laurie Daley also believes the wrong decision was made and told Channel 7 Cecchin's failure to throw the decision to the video referee has cost Tonga a spot in the final.

"I hate being critical of referees, I want referees to make decisions, but in that play there, that determines who goes through to the world cup final," he said.

"He had to. Given the outcome and the importance of the decision. It's a semi-final to go through to the final of a world cup. It comes to the last play. You have to refer it. That's cost Tonga a final."

Tonga coach Kristian Woolf slammed Cecchin for his failure to review the controversial strip tackle on Fifita.

"I just can't believe we don't have a look at that (Fifita incident)," he said.

"The game was on the line. It was the last play. I really don't understand that."

England coach Wayne Bennett said Cecchin made the right call.

"No, I wasn't nervous," he said.

"Why didn't he give us a penalty when the ball got stripped off McGillvary? It's the same thing, exactly the same.

"It was a quality game of football — they had some chances and lost a couple they probably should've taken, and we kept turning up in defence," Bennett said. "At the end of the day, our defence won the game for us.

"We had our hands full, were up for it and got the job done."

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