Ireland and Leinster prop Andrew Porter has revealed that he is still grappling with the emotional aftermath of Ireland's 24-28 loss against New Zealand in Paris last month.
Ireland once again faced elimination in the quarterfinals of the Rugby World Cup, prompting criticism of Porter's performance in the defeat. Porter was penalised for scrum infringements multiple times by referee Wayne Barnes, who also called out his replacement, Finlay Bealham.
Porter acknowledges the pressure and expectations surrounding Ireland's team, especially the anticipation of progressing beyond the quarterfinals, and the narrow loss to the All-Blacks increased the disappointment.
“I’m still trying to come to terms with it in my own head,” Porter admitted on The Rugby Pod.. “It was gutting. I have never felt that much of a low, I don’t think, in my career.
Ireland's RWC Agony, Blood Boiling Decisions & Road to Redemption with Andrew Porter ☘️
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“I thought being able to seeing my family and friends (would be great), but I didn’t want to do anything, I just wanted to be completely by myself. It was s**t. I’m not going to lie.”
Porter conceded that the decisions by referee Wayne Barnes, penalising him for scrum infringements, were frustrating. Despite feeling hard done by, he acknowledges the difficulty of being a referee in elite sporting environments. He recognised that the situation could easily be different, with a New Zealand prop facing Barnes' decisions.
"This is the part where I get cancelled!,"he added.
"Especially in the front row because there is that added pressure and responsibility on you where a decision that doesn’t go your way can tip things in favour of the other team
"A lot of the time you know you’re in the wrong when a penalty is given against you but when it’s those 50/50 calls where you feel a bit hard done by it is really tough not to get worked up about it.
"I could feel that in the New Zealand game in the quarter final. My blood was honestly boiling after a while because I felt like I’d been hard done by. There are a lot of people out there who could disagree with me, they always have but it is tough.
"Being a ref is probably tougher than being a player in terms of the amount of criticism you’re going to get. One team is always going to hate you at the end of the day."