Cape Town - Former South African Test referee Jonathan Kaplan says he has some sympathy for Wallaby flank Michael Hooper despite the Australian punching an opponent.
VIDEO: Hooper takes down a Puma
Hooper was cited following Australia’s 34-9 Rugby Championship win against Argentina at the weekend, after striking Pumas flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez in the second half.
With Australia on the attack, Hooper retaliated after Sanchez had held him back by punching the Argentine pivot.
Kaplan commented on the incident via on his website www.ratetheref.co.za.
While he does don’t condone what Hooper did, Kaplan does have sympathy for it.
He wrote: “The crux of his point was that if a player is held illegally, especially as a support player in the build up or a strong attacking position (as evidenced in its worst format during the Toulon - Wasps semi-final this year where the referee did nothing against the transgressor) what should referees be doing.
“They must be carding the transgressor. 10/10 times. It is a blight on the game, and we as referees have a responsibility to change that exact type of behaviour. I won’t condone Hooper’s actions, but I have huge sympathy for it. At the very least, something for the perpetrator. We aren’t in the dark ages!”