Kiwi referee helped save Boks' bacon

2016-06-27 09:04
Willie le Roux and Tiernan O'Halloran of Ireland clash... (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - General consensus is that Willie le Roux can consider himself a very lucky man to only have seen yellow for a horror mid-air collision with his Irish counterpart in the third Test at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

As it happened: Springboks v Ireland, 3rd Test

5 talking points: Boks v Ireland, 3rd Test

In the 11th minute of the match, Le Roux went up - with one arm - and collided with Ireland fullback Tiernan O'Halloran, sending the hapless visiting No 15 crashing to the ground.

Quite how Le Roux hoped to catch the ball with one hand - and his eyes closed - is something of a mystery.

As former Test referee Jonathan Kaplan wrote on Twitter after the incident in response to a question of "So you not allowed to compete for the ball?"

After medics attended to O'Halloran, he left the field for a concussion test and after returning to the field briefly, was replaced at half-time.

For his part in the incident, Le Roux was sin-binned for 10 minutes.

While Le Roux was sitting on the sidelines in Port Elizabeth, the Irish scored their only try of the match, leading many to suggest that had a red card been issued, the Boks would've struggled to hang on for their eventual 19-13 victory.

Ironically, Le Roux was on the receiving end of a similar tackle earlier this Super Rugby season when Highlanders centre Jason Emery made contact with him in the air in Dunedin. Emery was red-carded for the incident and banned for four weeks.

Quite how New Zealand referee Glen Jackson, together with his TMO, deemed this offence only worthy of a yellow card, baffles the mind.

Social media was quick to react and several local rugby "gurus" were honest enough to suggest the Springboks were very fortunate to not play 69 minutes with 14 men.

Nick Mallett in the SuperSport studios diplomatically stated that "yellow was the very least Le Roux could've received", while SuperSport rugby writer Brenden Nel suggested Le Roux was "VERY lucky to stay on the field".

Kaplan also called the incident "v dangerous".

Predictably Le Roux was cited post-Test and banned for one match.

As a consequence he will miss Saturday's Lions v Sharks Super Rugby clash at Ellis Park ... and the history books will forever read that the Boks beat Ireland 2-1 in 2016.

Read more on:    springboks  |  willie le roux  |  rugby

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