Rugby Championship

Kaplan questions Bok penalty

2014-10-07 09:02
Jonathan Kaplan (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Former South African referee Jonathan Kaplan has questioned the decision to award the Springboks a penalty on the back of television replays late in their Test against the All Blacks at Ellis Park last Saturday.

VIDEO: Patrick Lambie lands the match-winning penalty

The Boks were awarded a penalty after TV replays on the big screen showed Liam Messam perform an illegal tackle on Schalk Burger.

Pat Lambie converted the kick from 55m out to hand the Boks a 27-25 victory.

Kaplan, writing on his website, feels the Boks may have been slightly fortunate that English referee Wayne Barnes decided to go back and refer the decision once it was shown on the big screen.

"The Boks dominated the first half, the All Blacks the second. In the end, the game came down to a decision by the TV producer to highlight a misdemeanour by Liam Messam on Schalk Burger, which all the officials missed in real time. After finding the clip, and then replaying it over and over, eventually the match officials decided it was worthy of review, and correctly awarded a penalty to the Boks which Pat Lambie (who has oodles of BMT) converted to win the game. The TMO himself seemed a bit confused by referring to the fact that he thought perhaps arms were used in the tackle which was hardly the point. It was a swinging arm and a dangerous tackle.

"If you are a Bok supporter, you will be saying we deserved it, and how many times it happened against us. The protocol and process will mean nothing. But there is an important point to make here. I doubt (very much) whether that clip would have been brought up on the screen by producers in Australia or New Zealand and replayed over and over. Is it right that someone outside of the domain of the match officials can affect the outcome of a major Test match? And how neutral is he? In the end, it was his alertness that drew the attention of the crowd to the high tackle, they got into it, the officials then decided to take a look, and the resultant penalty determined the outcome."

The Springboks now shift their attentions to their year-end tour to Europe where games against Ireland in Dublin (November 8), England in London (November 15), Italy in Padova (November 22) and Wales in Cardiff (November 29) await.


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