‘Kearns spat his dummy out’

Former Test referee Jonathan Kaplan has slammed Fox Sports commentator Phil Kearns for his criticism of Craig Joubert last Saturday.

Kearns climbed into the South African referee after he awarded a penalty try to the Highlanders following a swinging arm tackle from Waratahs flank Jacques Potgieter that prevented winger Patrick Osborne from scoring. Potgieter was also yellow-carded.

'This led to Phil Kearns, a really good guy off the field, spitting his dummy out and showing his true colours by claiming that the referee was having a shocker,' Kaplan wrote on ratetheref.co.za. 'He then tried to include Rod Kafer into the mix, who wouldn’t be drawn into the tirade.

'It was an appalling bit of commentary and must have left his employers red-faced at the degree of parochialism he was showing to an audience that deserved better. Not only did he display the petulance that cannot and should not be tolerated, but he misled the public – ignorantly I would say – about the actual events that were transpiring in the match. What a joke!

'And therein lies the issue … the networks are only too keen to get ex-players involved, some of whom only have the most basic knowledge of the laws of the game; and these characters are misleading the public and giving them a distorted view of events on the field.'

Read Kaplan's full column

Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt