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Kaplan: Rugby 'stuck in bureaucratic time warp'

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 13:46 29/08/2014
Jonathan Kaplan
Getty Images

TOO MUCH AT STAKE: Former top referee Jonathan Kaplan believes the IRB needs to introduce a captain's challenge for contentious on-field decisions.

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Rugby is "stuck in a bureaucratic time warp" and should use a captain's on-field challenge for contentious decisions, former top referee Jonathan Kaplan says.

At a time when the game's governing body, the International Rugby Board, said it was getting progressive by changing its name to World Rugby, Kaplan said the sport's administrators had "their heads stuck in the ground and hope for the best".

After retiring last year as the game's most experienced referee, the South African has opened a website where he mixes progressive thinking with honest opinion.

Kaplan criticised the All Blacks' cynical tactics and South African referee Jaco Peyper after the 12-all draw with the Wallabies in the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup opener in Sydney.

Kaplan marvelled at the way the All Blacks responded to trounce the Wallabies 51-20 at Eden Park last weekend and praised Peyper for owning up to his Sydney inaccuracies.

"Then you have people coming out of the woodwork saying that captains need on-field challenges to correct those types of human errors," Kaplan said of the debate that followed his controversial comments, with plenty of theories offered to help referees.

"I couldn't agree more but we are stuck in a bureaucratic time warp. This should be happening already!

"This is professional sport. It is too reliant on one man's whims and the issues will never be resolved if administration think they can stick their heads in the ground and hope for the best. Never!" Kaplan was rich in his praise for the All Blacks.

"The All Blacks put in one of the best performances seen in ages," he said.

"They beat a good Wallaby team ... no, they smoked them! This was vintage ABs.

"They came with a game plan to improve on their performance of the previous weekend [and] executed it to perfection.

"The fact that a player got yellow carded meant little. They have few discernible weaknesses and it will take a good team to break them down.

"At home they are virtually unbeatable and you can see that they are everyone's favourites for the Rugby Championship now."

Of the Springboks' struggles with the Pumas, Kaplan worried about a South African scrum that was "bullied and shunted about".

He also had concerns about the leaky defence.

While he praised the Boks for their courageous and successful comeback, he felt they should have avoided putting themselves in that precarious position.

"If our intensity and strategy were good from the outset, we wouldn't have found ourselves there in the first place," he said.

"We really do need to understand this if we want to topple the mighty ABs."

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