Rugby Championship

IRB: Ref Rolland was wrong

2012-10-04 08:00
Alain Rolland (File)

Cape Town - Irish referee Alain Rolland erred in not allowing Australia to make a late substitution against South Africa in a Rugby Championship match last Saturday, the International Rugby Board said on Wednesday.

The Wallabies were forced to play the closing stages at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria a man short, although it did not affect the result as the Springboks had all but sewn up a 31-8 victory.

A Board statement said that according to Law 3.12 (exception 2) Australia reserve hooker Saia Fainga'a should have been permitted to replace injured hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau.

Touchline microphones picked up Rolland - an experienced referee who officiated at the 2007 World Cup final -- telling the Australians that they could not make any more substitutions as they had already used the usual maximum of seven.

IRB match official selection committee chairman John Jeffrey said: "The area of substitution management is a team effort. This was an unfortunate case of human error by the match officials who accept that they made a mistake."

Australian Rugby Union chief John O'Neill said despite the match officials' inaccuracy, no decisions on the night affected the final result of the Test.

"South Africa were absolutely the better side, we congratulate them, they dominated the match, and that is not up for debate at all," O'Neill said in Sydney on Thursday.

"However, given the circumstances where the Wallabies were dealing with a massive and mounting injury toll, it was frustrating and unfair for the team to carry additional burdens.

"The challenges they faced at a ground where no Australian team has ever won were difficult enough.

"So I appreciate the IRB acknowledging the match official team failed to recognise Law 3.12 and allow the Wallabies to play out the match with a full complement of 15 players."

Rolland, who will also referee the match between South Africa and New Zealand in Soweto this Saturday, was assisted in Pretoria by Greg Garner of England and Romain Poite of France, with South African Shaun Veldsman the TMO.

Rolland provoked a fierce debate at last year's World Cup when he sent Wales captain Sam Warburton off early in the game for a spear tackle on Vincent Clerc.

Some criticised him for destroying the game as a spectacle while others said he was right to do so under the strict rules governing such tackles.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Is Allister Coetzee the right man to coach the Springboks?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.