Aplon's pace leads to ref error

    2013-04-07 22:23
    Cape Town - Stormers wing Gio Aplon's unbelievable pace can be put down as a reason why a dubious Stormers try was awarded against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

    According to a report on the SA Rugby Referees website, the Stormers' second try by centre Juan de Jongh should not have been allowed, as hooker Deon Fourie was in an off-side position following a kick from Aplon.

    Late in the first half of the Super Rugby match at the Free State Stadium, Aplon launched an attack from his own 22m line. He chipped the ball and then re-gathered, before chipping the ball up-field again.

    VIDEO: Cheetahs v Stormers, highlights

    Stormers hooker Fourie was nearest to the ball but overran it. There were five other players ahead of Aplon when he footed it again towards the Cheetahs' goal-line. The ball then struck Fourie's legs when he was ahead of Aplon and rebounded back towards the Stormers’ side.

    Their prop, Steven Kitshoff, then gathered it and launched an assault on the Cheetahs line. The Cheetahs stopped him but conceded a penalty, upon which captain Jean de Villiers took a quick tap which eventually led to De Jongh's try.

    Referee Stuart Berry awarded the try, but according to SA Rugby Referees, he should have awarded a scrum to the Cheetahs instead. However, the report reveals that it was Aplon's pace which prevented the referee from making a correct decision.

    "The referee clearly did not have a good view of what happened," the explanation read. "When Aplon chipped the second time, the referee was left 20m or so behind play, which is understandable as many people are slower than Aplon and the kicked ball. Even Aplon got left behind!

    "The referee was at ground level and did not have a bird's eye view or a replay. Near the ball there were at least five pairs of legs and the action was quick.

    "Perhaps he could have guessed but referees believe that guessing is dishonest and imagine the uproar if he had guessed wrongly."

    According to the International Rugby Board's rules Barry could not have asked for a Television Match Official (TMO) replay because he had awarded a penalty to the Stormers after prop Kitshoff was tackled. However, had Kitshoff himself scored the try before the penalty was awarded, then the TMO could have been called into action.

    Despite De Jongh being awarded the try which put his side 15-7 up at half-time, the Cheetahs fought back to win 26-24.

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