Kaplan: McCaw penalty was wrong

Former Test referee Jonathan Kaplan says Craig Joubert should not have penalised Richie McCaw with two minutes to go in the Super Rugby final.

The Crusaders were leading 32-30 at the time, but Bernard Foley snatched victory for the Waratahs with the resultant 45m penalty kick.

Kaplan, though, believes the flyhalf should never have been given that opportunity.

'Towards the end of the fixture he [Joubert] penalised the Crusaders for side entry, as the player involved was not the tackler,' Kapan wrote on his website, 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.'

Kaplan also criticised TMO George Ayoub for awarding a second-half try to Nemani Nadolo that helped the Crusaders to level the scores 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,' he said.

Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

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