Former Test referee Jonathan Kaplan says Steve Walsh showed inconsistency in the way he refereed the rolling maul at Twickenham on Saturday.
Walsh was criticised following his performance, but Kaplan believes much of it is unwarranted. In his post-Test analysis, Kaplan says Walsh refereed parts of the game very well, but believes his handling of the mauls left a bit to be desired.
'A warning was issued to both teams late in the first half regarding maul offences after both had committed regular offences,' wrote Kaplan on Ratetheref.co.za. 'I don’t really know if there is a perfect time to issue this type of warning as it often comes when one team has transgressed. Also, one team may have committed more offences than the other.
'The reality was that Victor Matfield clearly infringed and was given his marching orders. This seemed fair, South Africa were vulnerable all of a sudden and allowed England to squeeze in a couple of tries to draw level.
'Later on Courtney Lawes went right round the side of a dominant Bok maul, and was only penalised. I battled with this decision, as it was a deliberate an offence as any of the others yet it didn’t get the requisite card it deserved after the warning that England also received. This would seem to be inconsistent with the sanction South Africa received.'
England scored two tries while Matfield was off the field, however Kaplan believes that neither of these tries would've been awarded if Walsh had followed the letter of the law.
'The try that England scored came from a lineout drive by their whole team almost. The problem was that the lineout had not moved and therefore these backline players were not entitled to join.
'They should ideally have been waved back to their positions, and if not complying then penalised. Instead South Africa conceded a try. The referee was standing at the front of the lineout and hence was in a perfect position to see the events unfolding.'
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