Kaplan defends French referee

Jonathan Kaplan says Jerome Garces 'did a really good job' during the Test between Italy and the Springboks in Padova.

Garces was criticised by many for his performance last Saturday, especially at the breakdown where Italy slowed down Bok ball, but Kaplan insists he did well.

'He refereed with a great deal of empathy, allowing both teams to play. It wasn’t the greatest game, but that is not his fault,' wrote the former Test referee on www.ratetheref.co.za. 'I thought Italy definitely got the rub of the green in respect of scrum decisions, but otherwise it was a really competent showing. He has impressed twice now, including our loss to the All Blacks earlier in the year.'

'Of course there were errors,' added Kaplan, 'not least of which was the penalty just before half-time against Eben Etzebeth for side entry in a maul. He was always legal, onside at [the] lineout and he entered the maul correctly – behind the ball on transfer at the lineout – so it was a bad call which cost three points.

'Just after half-time, Italian hooker Leonardo Giraldhini slapped a ball down in front of the referee as Jean de Villiers was passing the ball from a ruck. The ref saw it and awarded a scrum to Italy which was the wrong decision, it should have been a penalty to South Africa.

'Otherwise I thought Garces did a really good job.'

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Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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