Super Rugby

SANZAAR confirms Crusaders WERE robbed by SA TMO

Cape Town - The controversial TMO decision which denied the Crusaders victory over the Stormers at Newlands last Saturday was indeed WRONG.

According to the Stuff website, SANZAAR has confirmed to the nine-time champion franchise that South African Marius Jonker wrongly ruled out what would have been in all likelihood a match-winning try by wing Sevu Reece.

"It's a momentum game. Look, they (SANZAAR) just cleared up that the ruling was wrong," Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said of the call late in the 19-19 draw with the Stormers.

"We got clarity of the understanding of the rule, if it's backwards out of the hand, the pass is going backwards. Obviously, momentum is a big part of why it looked forward, but it isn't forward.

"It would be a pretty tough game of rugby (if you had) to stand still and pass backwards."

Had Reece's 75th minute chip-and-chase try stood, the Crusaders would have led 24-16 (before the conversion attempt) and all but had a bonus point (four tries to one) win in the bag. 

Instead, the Stormers earned a penalty from the resulting scrum and launched the raid which led to the match-levelling penalty, kicked after the final hooter.

Jonker, who will be a TMO at the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year, had clearly made up his mind before communicating with Australian referee Nic Berry and putting the pass in question on the big screen at Newlands. 

"I'm going to show you a forward pass," he told Berry.

After a couple of replays - both from the same view - were shown, Jonker said: "So, we have a forward pass, it's clear and obvious evidence of a forward pass."

SANZAAR's definition of a forward pass is as follows: When a player throws or passes the ball forward i.e. if the arms of the player passing the ball move forward.

As SANZAAR's confirmation to the Crusaders the decision was incorrect confirms, Ennor's hands were going backwards when he fired the pass wide to Reece.

The Crusaders had to settle for two competition points from the match, leaving them nine points clear of the Hurricanes at the top of the New Zealand Conference with three games to play.

Jonker will not be officiating in this weekend's Round 15 matches.

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