Sanzaar refereeing boss Lyndon Bray says Ryan Crotty's try was legitimate
Sanzaar refereeing boss Lyndon Bray has confirmed Ryan Crotty's controversial try was legitimate in the All Blacks' nail-biting win over the Springboks.
Debate about the influential try by the All Blacks centre has raged in South Africa since New Zealand's 25-24 win at Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday (NZT).
There were strong suggestions that Crotty knocked on or didn't have control as he pounced on the bouncing loose ball in the ingoal area.
Even South African refereeing boss Mark Lawrence felt the try should not have stood, arguing that once a player touches the ball and the ball is in the air, he is deemed to have possession.
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English TMO Rowan Kitt took a long time to make his decision off repeated replays, exploring various angles and explained that Crotty had knocked the ball backwards before grounding it with his waist.
Bray backed up Kitt as he looked to bring some calm to the debate in a result that saw the All Blacks sweep the Rugby Championship with an unbeaten run over six tests.
"Crotty was not carrying the ball so there was no loss of control or knock-on at that point," Bray told supersport.com as the South African sports website sought an official explanation of the ruling on Tuesday (NZT).
"Therefore the next issue to consider is if he propelled the ball forward trying to ground it.
"When he first made contact with ball, the ball was not at first in contact with the ground, and it appears the ball movement was straight down and not forward.
"If it was determined he had insufficient downward pressure it was still not a knock on. Then his momentum meant his upper body forced the ball and under law this is a try."
Crotty's try was the only one of the first half and gave the All Blacks an 8-3 lead at the break.
The see-sawing battle was only clinched late in the game with a Lima Sopoaga penalty on the back of a stunning Damian McKenzie try.
Having been beaten 57-0 in Albany, the result represented a magnificent comeback by the Springboks in the return encounter but there was huge frustration among their supporters - and management - that they hadn't been able to beat the All Blacks.
That wasn't helped by lingering doubts over the Crotty try.
Even Crotty himself looked hugely relieved when French referee, on the advice of Kitt, blew his whistle to confirm the five pointer.