SANZAAR confirms blunder involving SA match officials
Cape Town - SANZAAR on Monday confirmed that match officials made an incorrect ruling towards the end of the Reds v Crusaders match in Brisbane on Saturday.
The referee on the day was South Africa's Marius van der Westhuizen and his officials were compatriot AJ Jacobs and Australia's Damon Murphy, with Australia's George Ayoub the television match official (TMO).
The confusion occurred in the 71st minute when Crusaders replacement flyhalf Mitchell Hunt, who had earlier replaced Richie Mo'unga as a tactical substitution, was forced out for the remainder of the match after failing a Head Injury Assessment (HIA) after he was unceremoniously lifted and dumped in a "tackle".
Incredibly the incident wasn't referred to the TMO, nor did the TMO flag the tackle.
In a poorly worded press statement released on Monday, SANZAAR said at the determination of the officials, Hunt met "the requirement for a HIA (head injury assessment) assessment as per HIA protocols".
Hunt was then re-replaced by Mo'unga, despite the Crusaders having used all eight of their substitutions, but which is permitted under the current HIA protocols.
However, confusion reigned as the fourth official on duty mistakenly believed that Hunt had simply been injured, and not concussed as was the diagnosis of the doctors on duty.
This led to Mo'unga incorrectly being escorted from the field by Van der Westhuizen in the 74th minute.
It saw the Crusaders finish the match with 14 men.
"SANZAAR is disappointed that the HIA protocols, introduced into the game as player welfare measure, were wrongly interpreted and is taking steps to ensure such incidents do not occur moving forward," the statement concluded.
Thankfully the gaffe by the officials didn't result in the Reds snatching what would've been a controversial victory in the closing minutes as the Crusaders hung on for a 22-12 win.