English referee Matthew Carley has been slammed for his performance during Wales’ Rugby World Cup win over Fiji, with the Pacific Islanders told they are owed an apology.

Wales claimed a thrilling bonus-point 32-26 win over Fiji to go second in Pool C, putting themselves in position to qualify for the quarter-finals. But that win came as the result of Carley’s dreadful performance, with many viewers claiming he heavily favoured Wales in his decisions.

The fury over Carley, who is one of the English Premiership’s top officials, was led by former Fiji 7s boss Ben Ryan, who won Olympic gold in 2016. Ryan bemoaned Carley’s “inconsistent” decisions, insisting the officiating had “killed” Fiji.

“Multiple penalties for wales on their own line and no yellow and then Fiji cop one. Man, Rugby is sooooo inconsistent. Well played Fiji. Fitter and played so well. Grey officiating killed us,” Ryan tweeted.

“So disappointing. Will beat the Aussies. And I’d like to add – I’ve always got a soft spot for Wales rugby – none of my comments are about them. The officiating and the time keeping – that’s been so disappointing.”

Fans watching the game at Stade de Bordeaux also fumed at Carley, with one saying “The ref needs to be banned.” Another insisted that poor officiating had been a trend in the tournament, writing: “It’s making a mockery of the tournament.”

TV presenter Nick Knowles, who is also a huge fan of rugby, launched a series of furious tweets at Carley. Knowles slammed his decision-making as “disgraceful” and insisted that it was “grotesque”, urging Fiji to lodge a formal complaint.

“Absolutely appalling officiating in this game – Fiji should launch an official complaint. Try line no arms tackle first half wales ignored, multiple try line offences Wales ignored, one offence Fiji carded. Officiating ruining this World Cup,” he tweeted.

“This is looking worse than bad officiating – I don’t even want to say it out loud. This officiating is an absolute disgrace and World Rugby owes Fiji an apology and this officiating team need censuring in some way. This is supposed to be a showcase but it’s grotesque.”

Fiji boss Simon Raiwalui steered clear of out-right blaming Carley for his team’s defeat. But he did reveal that they would be reviewing the game, with several decisions going against them, to their surprise.

“It’s difficult, the referees have a tough job, I respect what they do, as a coach you’re looking for that consistency. We’ll review the game and have a look at what comes up but there were a couple of occasions where we thought things could’ve been different,” Raiwalui said.

“We had our opportunities. We weren’t clinical enough. There were a couple of disallowed tries, and we had a chance at the end. We weren’t clinical enough to finish off, and we move on to Australia next week.

“We made mistakes at critical moments, and we had to chase it at the end. It was a very good Welsh team,” he said.