Kaplan: Wrong call in S15 final
Cape Town - Retired South African referee Jonathan Kaplan says the Crusaders can feel hard done by after a late penalty cost them the Super Rugby title.
The Waratahs beat the Crusaders 33-32 in the Super Rugby final in Sydney last Saturday courtesy of a late penalty by flyhalf Bernard Foley.
The Crusaders looked headed for their eighth Super Rugby crown when flyhalf Colin Slade put them in front with a penalty in the 76th minute.
But the never-say-die Waratahs fought their way into the Crusaders' half and earned their winning kick at goal when All Black skipper Richie McCaw was penalised in a maul.
Foley's kick just cleared the crossbar to put the Waratahs back in front in the final minute, much to the delight of the record crowd for a Super Rugby final of 61 823.
However, Kaplan feels the wrong decision was made by SA referee Craig Joubert.
He commented on the decision via his website, www.ratetheref.co.za
:“Towards the end of the fixture he (Joubert) penalised the Crusaders for side entry, as the player involved was not the tackler. The pundits on SuperSport (Nick Mallett in particular) were keen to point out the ruck before hand, one of the ‘Tahs had helped the ball back with his hands at a ruck. While this may be true, the laws around this facet are so complex, and referees do not apply all of them consistently. In addition one has to ask whether the contest for possession was over?“This type of thing happens partly as a result of the laws and partly as a result of the fact that they do not have a dedicated coach to ensure consistency. There are many laws which are written in the same ink as others which we KNOWINGLY choose not to apply. This has been done for years.“That passage of play was messy, and I always say, that unless the penalty is clear and obvious, the players and not the referee should decide the outcome. The final penalty against the Crusaders was also incorrect as there was no tackle! This was indeed a very disappointing end to a very well refereed match, and the Crusaders would have reason to feel a little hard done by…”