Kaplan: TMO call against England was incorrect

Jonathan Kaplan (Gallo Images)
Jonathan Kaplan (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Jonathan Kaplan has questioned the TMO call to disallow England a match-winning try against the All Blacks on Saturday.

The All Blacks were leading 16-15 when, with just four minutes to go, scrumhalf TJ Perenara had a kick charged down by England lock Courtney Lawes.

Flank Sam Underhill collected the ball and scored in the corner as Twickenham exploded after what they thought would be a famous victory.

TMO Marius Jonker, however, ruled out the try due to Lawes having been offside at the ruck.

The 52-year-old Kaplan, considered one of the best referees South Africa has ever produced, believes that Jonker got it wrong.

"I was surprised TMO Marius Jonker penalised Courtney Lawes for offside ahead of his charge-down, and although I concede it is a close call I do not agree with his decision," Kaplan wrote in a column for the Telegraph on Sunday.

"When looking at the incident we first need to work out whether there was an offside line. In previous years, as no English player was bound, there wouldn’t have been. But that law was changed in the wake of England’s 'no ruck' game with Italy, and law 14.10 states that any player over the ball constitutes an offside line.

"What that means is that Lawes had to get onside and then be behind the hindmost body part of the tackle as there is no ruck.

"Lawes clearly retires behind and in line with the rest of his teammates before he strays marginally in front of them.

"However, the crux of the matter is whether the ball is out or not. If you watch the footage again you will see scrumhalf TJ Perenara had his hands on the ball for some time before lifting it. That is crucial. To my mind, if the ball is no longer in the ruck and is not covered at all by other players – something I assessed by asking myself whether a bird could s**t on it from above – then it is out and available for all to play.

"Further illustrating the point, by touching it Perenara ensured it was fair game for anyone else to make a move, not least Lawes. The offside line is not relevant now, which to my mind makes this a fair try."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
loading... Live
Chennai Super Kings 178/4
Kolkata Knight Riders 172/5
loading... Live
Royal Antwerp 0
Tottenham 0
loading... Live
AEK Athens 0
Leicester City 0
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
42% - 8978 votes
11% - 2327 votes
19% - 4097 votes
2% - 529 votes
1% - 191 votes
2% - 499 votes
5% - 1046 votes
9% - 1819 votes
3% - 727 votes
Water sports
1% - 198 votes
American sports
1% - 267 votes
3% - 680 votes