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‘Atrocious call’ costs Fiji as New Zealand complete comeback in Rugby League World Cup quarter-final

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A Fijian fairytale at the Rugby League World Cup fell apart in dramatic fashion against New Zealand on Sunday morning (AEDT).

Fiji opened the scoring in their quarter-final clash and led for the majority of the contest with the Kiwis not taking the lead until the 72nd minute when they edged ahead for the first time via a controversial call.

Joseph Manu was originally ruled to have lost the ball for the Kiwis in Fiji’s half, but a captain’s challenge saw the bunker overturn the initial decision and instead award a penalty for a strip from Viliame Kikau. 

Jordan Rapana made no mistake to kick New Zealand ahead as a result and he would then seal the 24-18 win with a try at the death. 

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Fiji will be left dreaming about what could have been with the Kiwis now set to face Australia in the semi-finals. 

The late decision to penalise Fiji proved costly to the end result and many felt it was the wrong decision with no clear-cut evidence that Manu hadn’t lost control of the ball himself. 

“It was a big call…we then saw a thousand replays to come to a decision,” Greg Alexander said on Fox League post-match. 

“We watch endless replays to come up with a decision and I feel they went with the wrong one there.”

Fans were also quick to slam the decision on social media as Fiji fell brutally short of a stunning upset. 

New Zealand will now face Australia in the semi-finals next Saturday at 6:45 a.m. (AEDT).

England have booked their place in the other semi-final and will face either Tonga or Samoa in that match. 


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