Cape Town - Retired South African referee Jonathan Kaplan has defended the performance of French referee, Jerome Garces, during the Test between Italy and the Springboks in Padova last Saturday.
Garces was criticised in some quarters for the way he handled the Test, which South Africa won 22-6.
Kaplan, writing on his website www.ratetheref.co.za, disagreed with the notion.
"He refereed with a great deal of empathy, allowing both teams to play. It wasn’t the greatest game, but that is not his fault," wrote Kaplan.
"I thought Italy definitely got the rub of the green in respect of scrum decisions, but otherwise it was a really competent showing. He (Garces) has impressed twice now, including our loss to the All Blacks earlier in the year."
Kaplan did acknowledge two errors made by Garces though. He felt Bok lock Eben Etzebeth should not have been penalised just before half-time for side entry in a maul and said Italian hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini should have been penalised just after the break when he slapped down a pass from Bok skipper Jean de Villiers. Garces awarded a scrum to Italy instead.
The Boks conclude their year-end tour with a Test against Wales in Cardiff this Saturday (16:30 kick-off).
CLICK HERE to read Kaplan's full column