Some Springbok fans angry at New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence have been constantly calling an Auckland listed number – but they’ve got the wrong guy, The New Zealand Herald reported on Friday.
Bryce (“I have nothing to do with rugby”) Lawrence told the New Zealand Herald his phone had been ringing virtually non-stop since his number was posted online in a campaign against the referee.
He told the Herald he had contacted New Zealand’s Telecom and the police to get his number removed from websites.
More than 66 000 angry rugby fans have signed a Facebook petition “to stop Bryce Lawrence ever reffing a rugby game again” after the Springboks’ 9-11 loss to the Wallabies on Sunday.
The Springboks controlled most of the possession and territory but were unable to score, and many commentators have said Lawrence failed to penalise breakdown infringements.
The Herald report also refers to a podcast made by Johannesburg-based radio prankster, Darren “Wackhead” Simpson.
Simpson’s call reached who he believed to be the referee at 4am New Zealand time.
“I got a hold of his number, it was easier than I thought and this is a little bit of payback,” Simpson said.
“I thought I would let him know how South Africans feel about it.”
Other websites have posted the recording and given the phone number of the wrong Bryce Lawrence.
The non-rugby Lawrence said he had been getting calls at all hours of the night.
“But I think Telecom and the police have taken it off the site. I think it hasn’t got my direct phone number now.”
Lawrence told the Herald he was resigned to his predicament: “Well, these things happen. It’s one of these things in life,” he said.
Retiring Springboks captain John Smit and South African referees manager Andre Watson have made known their sentiments towards Lawrence’s performance:
“The one positive (of retirement) is that I won’t ever have to be reffed by him again,” Smit said on his return to South Africa.
Watson told Cape Talk 567 Lawrence had failed to officiate the breakdown as he was supposed to.
“He will be punished, but that’s up to the (International Rugby Board),” Watson said.
“I do not believe we will see him in any Rugby World Cup again.” - Daily News