Kaplan slams shocking refs

Former Test referee Jonathan Kaplan has slammed George Clancy for his 'bizarre' and incorrect decision to yellow card Bryan Habana in last Saturday's Test.

Writing for the website ratetheref.co.za, Kaplan said the standard of officiating is not good enough, and that the flaws in the system will ensure that the referees continue to make mistakes. Kaplan singled out Clancy's performance in the Test between the Wallabies and Springboks in Perth as particularly poor.

Clancy penalised Bok No 8 Duane Vermeulen for a tackle on Wallabies prop James Slipper, even though the tackle was within the laws of the game. This led to the Wallabies kicking a goal and scoring three points.

But the worst mistake was made in the 66th minute, when Clancy ignored the advice of his assistants and decided that a tackle made by Habana on Adam Ashley-Cooper warranted a yellow card. This changed the course of the game, and ultimately the result, as the Wallabies went on to win 24-23.

'He was advised by the assistant referee to confer with the TMO to make sure,' wrote Kaplan of the incident. 'He did this and bizarrely still wanted to go to his pocket. That was a poor decision.

'It is wrong if match officials do not understand the sport at the highest level. None of the top 20 officials in the world should be giving a yellow card for that offence. And if you think I am wrong, then there should have been a whole slew of yellows not only in this match, but others in the Championship too.'

Kaplan pointed to another costly mistake made in the Test between New Zealand and Argentina in Napier, where Pascal Gauzere was the referee. The Pumas charged down a kick and scored, but Gauzere ruled the ball had been knocked on.

Had the try stood, the Pumas would have narrowed the deficit and the complexion of the game would have changed.

'It was an error. But it was one which really was not a good look for the game as it appeared the referee didn’t understand the difference between a knock and a charge down, which I am sure is not true,' said Kaplan.

'Are we going to go along the tack that we all make mistakes? Not I. In an age where the technology is available, the referee should have allowed the obvious score, and then checked to see if the knock on he saw actually occurred.

'The fact that he blew his whistle and didn’t use common sense is not good enough. Argentina were denied and it had a profound effect on the contest.'

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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Jon Cardinelli