Correct me if i am wrong but is Jonathan Kaplan more in the news for the wrong reasons lately? The South African referee awarded a controversial try to Wales that left Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll seething.
An illegitimate converted try cost Ireland seven points in their Six Nations match Wales won by six, leaving the Irish questioning why video evidence was not used.
South African referee Jonathan Kaplan awarded the try to Wales scrumhalf Mike Phillips after discussion with Scottish touch judge Peter Allan and not referring the affair to the television match official (TMO), Geoff Warren.
Phillips crashed in at the corner after a quick line-out taken by Matthew Rees.
But Kaplan and Allan failed to spot that Rees was handed a ball from a ball-boy that was not the one kicked into touch, as Law 19.2 (d) of the International Rugby Board’s Laws of the Game demands.
“For a quick throw-in, the player must use the ball that went into touch. A quick throw-in is not permitted if another person has touched the ball apart from the player throwing it in and an opponent who carried it into touch,” the law states.
“It was very lucky,” Phillips acknowledged, adding that it was “tough for the referee to pick everything up”.
“I was chuffed to get the opportunity and I took it. It was nice for something to come off for us for a change.
“A lot of things didn’t go our way and it was nice to have a bit of luck. We haven’t had much luck over the years with Wales so we’ll take it.”
Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll bemoaned the fact Kaplan refused to refer the issue to his TMO, with video footage clearly showing it was a “hugely illegitimate try”.
The 44-year-old referee, a professional official since 1998 and currently the world’s leading ref, simply requested confirmation from his touch judge, who mistakenly said it was the same ball.
There is a grey area over the use of the TMO outside the direct act of scoring, but given that the quick line-out was key to the move that swept Phillips over the whitewash, the decision was surprising.
“That is what TMOs are for and I am pretty sure you can go to them, even from that far out. We try to play by the rules of the game,” said O’Driscoll.
“These games are won and lost on little moments and that was a huge moment. What’s the point of having a TMO if you can’t check that?
“When I went over to Kaplan he was pushing everyone away and I told him I was captain and he said that was fine but he wanted to talk to his touch judge.
“So I stood there and before anything else could be said he awarded the try.
“It was clearly an illegitimate try and we feel hard done by.”
Newspapers in Ireland said Phillips’ 50th minute try had swung momentum the way of the home side, who went on to win 19-13 and keep their championship title aspirations alive.
“Try that never was costs Ireland,” rued the Irish Times, adding that the game “will ultimately be remembered for Mike Phillips’ controversially awarded try”.
The victory means Wales, who have beaten Scotland (24-6) and Italy (24-16) but lost to England (26-19), remain in contention for winning the Six Nations.
It was only the second defeat in Cardiff since 1983 for Ireland, who this season have beaten Italy (13-11) and Scotland (21-18), but went down 25-22 to France.