Kaplan blasted for blunder
London - South African referee Jonathan Kaplan stands accused of an ‘indefensible’ blunder in awarding Wales the try which promises to earn them an extra £750 000 in prize money.
VIDEO: Wales' controversial Six Nations try allowed by referee Jonathan Kaplan
According to the Mail Online website, the accusation over the wrong-ball row comes not from the aggrieved Irish camp, but from retired English referee ‘Fearless’ Fred Howard, whose nickname reflects his record for sending off more players in internationals than any other official.
His attack on Kaplan, the world’s most-capped Test referee, could force the Six Nations into issuing a formal apology.
Even Wales conceded Mike Phillips’s solo blindside try ought not to have been allowed because it broke the law over the taking of a quick lineout.
The officials failed to spot a double illegality behind the score which enabled Wales to secure the win they deserved and head to Paris in pursuit of £3 million as runners-up instead of £2.25 million for finishing third.
Law 19, section two, clause C states: ‘For a quick throw-in, the player must use the ball that went into touch. A quick throw-in is not permitted if another person has touched the ball apart from the player throwing it in.’
That a ball-boy handed Wales hooker Matthew Rees a different ball is not in dispute despite the referee and one of his assistants allowing the subsequent try to stand.
"How they could get that wrong is indefensible," said Howard, at 60 still involved in the Six Nations as an analyst.
Despite technology being limited to in-goal decisions, Kaplan could have asked the television match official, Geoff Warren, of England: ‘Is there any reason why I cannot award the try?’ He did not do so but did ask his assistant, Peter Allan, of Scotland, whether the same ball had been used for the throw.
His answer in the affirmative was enough for Kaplan to award the try and ignore heated protests from Irish players urging him to go upstairs for an action replay.
"We were robbed," said Ireland skipper Brian O’Driscoll.
"You have a service available to cover all bases. That’s what the TMO is there for. What’s the point if you don’t use him?
"Everyone is human and wrong calls are made the whole time. That one was a hugely illegitimate try which, in the end, has made all the difference between winning and losing.
"Everyone in the stadium knew the ball had been touched by a ball-boy. It beggars belief. If I was in the wrong on something like that, I’d be embarrassed."
Meanwhile, SANZAR referees boss Lyndon Bray has confirmed Kaplan made an error in the controversial penalty he awarded the Rebels at the end of their Vodacom Super Rugby Week 2 game against the Brumbies which resulted in Danny Cipriani landing the kick to win the match.
Brumbies prop Salesi Ma'afu gave a Rebels player little more than a shove after a scrum collapsed and Kaplan awarded the penalty.
"I think Jonathan would be the first one to say, in hindsight, he would have preferred not to have given that penalty," Bray said.
"It was just one of those unfortunate decisions that he'll learn from."
According to SANZAR's match appointments for the coming weeks in Super Rugby, Kaplan has not been awarded a match until Week 8 when he will handle duties in the all-South African match between the Sharks and Lions in Durban on Saturday, April 9.