Kaplan: Joubert wrong to penalise Richie McCaw

MARC HINTON
Last updated 10:39 08/08/2014
Richie McCaw
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GUTTED: Richie McCaw reacts after giving away a crucial penalty late in the Super Rugby final loss to the Waratahs. Former test referee Jonathan Kaplan says the All Black skipper was unlucky to be pinged.

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This will come as no consolation to the Crusaders whatsoever, but former test whistleblower Jonathan Kaplan has declared Craig Joubert got it badly wrong with his late penalty on Richie McCaw that decided last weekend's Super Rugby final.

Kaplan, writing on his South African website ratetheref.co.za, has laid bare the contentious call by Joubert late in an absorbing final in Sydney that helped the NSW Waratahs to an historic 33-32 victory.

The Crusaders had been leading 32-30 with two minutes to go when Joubert penalised McCaw at a ''tackle'' situation for what he deemed side entry.

Bernard Foley calmly slotted the 45m penalty that just passed over the crossbar to snatch a dramatic victory for the Waratahs.

Kaplan, though, has declared that the flyhalf should never have been given that opportunity because Joubert's ruling had been ''incorrect''.

''Towards the end of the fixture he [Joubert] penalised the Crusaders for side entry, as the player involved was not the tackler,' Kaplan wrote on ratetheref.co.za.

''The pundits on SuperSport - Nick Mallett in particular - were keen to point out the ruck beforehand; one of the Tahs had helped the ball back with his hands at a ruck. While this may be true, the laws around this facet are so complex, and referees do not apply all of them consistently.

''In addition one has to ask whether the contest for possession was over.

''This type of thing happens partly as a result of the laws and partly as a result of the fact that they do not have a dedicated coach to ensure consistency. There are many laws which are written in the same ink as others which we knowingly choose not to apply. This has been done for years.

''That passage of play was messy, and I always say, that unless the penalty is clear and obvious, the players and not the referee should decide the outcome.

''The final penalty against the Crusaders was also incorrect as there was no tackle. This was indeed a very disappointing end to a very well refereed match, and the Crusaders would have reason to feel a little hard done by.''

McCaw later said he had been disappointed and ''gutted'' by the decision but felt he should have shown more discipline and not made a play for the ball, given the circumstances.

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''I guess that's what pressure and those sort of moments come down to being able to back your D and perhaps I opened the door for the ref to make a decision and whether you agree or disagree that's the way it was and unfortunately he kicked the goal.

''I'm pretty annoyed but I can't do much about it now. It's one of those things you've just got to live with,'' he told reporters after the game in Sydney.  

Kaplan was also critical of the decision by TMO George Ayoub to award a second-half try to wing Nemani Nadolo that helped the Crusaders level up at 20-20.

''The work of the TMOs was a borderline disaster until the latter stages of the competition, but there was also an incident once again in the final where it appeared as if Nadolo's foot touches the line on his way to scoring the Crusaders' second try,'' Kaplan said.

The defeat continued the Crusaders' title drought under Todd Blackadder, despite the fact he has taken them as far as at least the semifinals every year since taking the reins in 2009.

- Stuff

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