Bulls robbed by Sharks' 'try'
Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Pretoria - Governing body SANZAR has confirmed that Television Match Official Deon van Blommenstein made a critical error in awarding Cobus Reinach his try during the Cell C Sharks 31-16 win over the Bulls in their Vodacom Super Rugby match in Durban on Saturday.
AS IT HAPPENED: Sharks v Bulls
According to the supersport.com website, SANZAR referees boss Lyndon Bray confirmed the try - which led to repeated replays - should not have been awarded as the ball was knocked-on by Sharks lock Anton Bresler.
Bray didn’t agree with Van Blommenstein’s assessment that Sharks lock Anton Bresler had not played his Bulls counterpart Paul Willemse in the air, as many - including the SuperSport commentators - believed he had. As the knock on had come first, that should have been the decision and if not, a penalty because of the infringement in the air. The try should never have been awarded.
The decision could turn out to be crucial in the long run as the Sharks scored their fourth try shortly before the end of the game to get a bonus point. That bonus point could play a major role in the outcome of the South African Conference at the end of the tournament.
“We unfortunately got the TMO decision wrong. The Sharks forward did knock the ball forward out of the Bulls player's hands. Also, there was consideration to the fact that the Sharks player obstructed the Bulls player in the air,” Bray said in reply to a question from supersport.com.
“Deon has accepted that the right decision should have been a knock on and scrum to the Bulls.”
The decision would not have influenced the result, as the Sharks were clear winners on the night, but with SANZAR giving referees an instruction to “own” the decision by referring to the big screen, this situation should have been avoided. The TMO and referees are encouraged to have conversations so that their decisions are clearer to viewers who are listening over the broadcast stream.