Cape Town - Former All Black lock Ian Jones has defended the controversial try Richie McCaw scored which proved the undoing of the Springboks at the weekend.
McCaw caught the Boks napping when he scored a match-winning try in the 74th minute of last Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash in Johannesburg.
The All Blacks ran a crafty lineout move close to the tryline which saw hooker Codie Taylor throw a low ball to McCaw, who joined the lineout from the scrumhalf position before catching the ball and barging over the line.
Former South African Test referee Jonathan Kaplan earlier this week said McCaw’s try was illegal.
“As a receiver, he (McCaw) has to stand 2m away from the lineout. It is questionable whether he was. Moreover he cannot move into the lineout to receive the ball until the ball has left the hands of the thrower,” Kaplan wrote on his website, www.ratetheref.co.za.
“It is clear he does start moving before the ball has left the hands of the hooker. The referee (Jerome Garces) never had a clue what was going on. One can see with his body language, that he was quite happy to award the try. Not even a referral! No TMO intervention either.”
Jones, however, felt in real time the French referee made the right decision to award the try.
"They (All Blacks) were good enough to do it. End of story, really. It wasn't the All Blacks’ intention to cheat. More to push the boundaries, as every team does,” Jones told the Stuff.co.nz. website.
"There's no markings on the field. If you ask anyone where two metres is there'd be 100 different interpretations. If the Springboks hadn't given away that penalty they wouldn't be in that position.
“No-one should be able to blame the referee for this. In real time it's incredibly difficult to judge. He (Garces) felt it was fine and he made a decision."
Jones, who is nowadays a rugby pundit on New Zealand television, played 79 Tests for the All Blacks between 1990 and 1999.