Kaplan raises issues with ref

2014-11-19 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Retired South African referee Jonathan Kaplan says errors were made by the officials during the England-South Africa Test at Twickenham at the weekend that need to be highlighted.

The Boks won the Test 31-28 to record their 11th win in 12 matches over England.

Kaplan commented on the game via his website, www.rate­theref.co.za.

While admitting referee Steve Walsh was correct in sending Springbok lock Victor Matfield to the sin-bin for pulling down an England maul, he said the referee was inconsistent with the manner in which he officiated the driving mauls.

Kaplan wrote: “He [Walsh] reffed parts of the game really well. He may well be coming to the end of the road, but is still well thought of by the selectors. However, some errors need discussion for the purpose of giving the public access to accurate information.

“A warning was issued to both teams late in the first half regarding maul offences after both had committed regular offences. I don’t really know if there is a perfect time to issue this type of warning as it often comes when one team have transgressed.

“Also, one team may have committed more offences than the other. The reality was Matfield clearly infringed and was given his marching orders.

“This seemed fair, South Africa were vulnerable all of a sudden and allowed England to squeeze in a couple of tries to draw level.

“Later on Courtney Lawes went right round the side of a dominant Bok maul and was only penalised. I battled with this decision, as it was a deliberate offence as any of the others, yet it didn’t get the requisite card it deserved after the warning England also received.

“This would seem to be inconsistent with the sanction South Africa received.

“Also, the second try England scored came from a line-out drive by their whole team almost. The problem was the lineout had not moved and therefore these backline players were not entitled to join.

“They should ideally have been waved back to their positions and, if not complying, then penalised. Instead, South Africa conceded another try. The referee was standing at the front of the lineout and hence was in a perfect position to see the events unfolding.”

Kaplan also said a blunder was made when England were rewarded a lineout in the second half that led to their second try. The assistant referee wrongly determined Springbok wing Bryan Habana had carried the ball into touch, despite replays clearly showing the Bok wing’s foot was grounded.

What should have been a Springbok lineout up-field, turned into an attacking lineout for the home side within striking range from which they eventually scored.

“Another hot talking point was the assistant referee who raised his flag when Habana caught the ball, one foot in, one out. This is out on the full. It doesn’t matter whether the ball has crossed the plain of the touch line or not,” Kaplan wrote.

“It was a poor decision by the assistant referee, no excuses. At this level, one can easily see the consequences of this error. Instead of South Africa having an attacking lineout, they were then having to defend one man down and the English marched them over the line for a defining score.”

Kaplan though insisted Walsh was right in not going upstairs with the decision.

“Many have asked whether the referee could have referred it — not to my mind. The referral can only happen for foul play or when points are scored.

“This is correct protocol, as the game would be ruined if everything was referred.

“It would become stop-start and what we gain in respect of accuracy would be offset with the boredom of waiting,” he wrote.

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