Referee Ben O'Keeffe responds criticism from France Rugby World Cup defeat

Referee Ben O'Keeffe responds criticism from France Rugby World Cup defeat

New Zealand referee Ben O'Keeffe has responded to Antoine Dupont's post-match comments about the officiating during the Rugby World Cup quarter-final loss to the Springboks.

In a closely fought encounter, France fell narrowly short as South Africa emerged 29-28 victors to progress to the semi-finals.

After the match, France captain Dupont was critical of O'Keeffe and his officiating team.

"What did you think from the outside? It's hard to say because there's a lot of disappointment and frustration," the scrum-half said when asked for his views on the refereeing.

WATCH: Selected matches will also be available on SABC's live streaming channel

"We want to see the images again - which will give us even more disappointment and even more frustration - but I think some clear and obvious things weren't whistled.

"I don't know if the match was lost at that point, but at crucial moments, we could have had a penalty. When you've gone forward 60 metres, and you're slowed down in the rucks, it's pretty easy to whistle.

"I don't want to sound bitter, moaning about the refereeing because we lost the match, but I'm not sure the refereeing was up to the challenge.

"That doesn't take anything away from the South Africans' great game, who got on top of us at the breakdown. They played a great game."

Meanwhile, O'Keeffe has confirmed that he has had no further contact with the French skipper but was happy with his personal performance on Sunday evening at the Stade France.

"It's obviously a very emotional time," O'Keeffe told Newshub. "I just try to respect that and give them space.

"Players and coaches are going to say things, whether you win or lose. I know that we're never perfect as referees; you definitely make errors in the game.

"But comments that players can make, they can do that after the game. In the heat of battle, things are said.

Follow all the Rugby World Cup fixtures in our live score centre

"I'm sure everything's fine, we've done my review, and we'll reach out and get things back on track as well. But I understand the sentiment after a big match like that."

While France's Rugby World Cup journey is over, O'Keeffe's is not, as he will take charge of the semi-final between England and South Africa.

However, if New Zealand defeats Argentina in their semi-final, he will not be able to take charge of the final.

READ MORE: Michael Cheika relishing Los Pumas battle with mighty All Blacks