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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.


8 Responses to Is Kaplan losing the plot?

  • 1

    I’m not sure that he’s losing it, but he does seem to have become detached from his purpose in the sport and the best way of realising the goals associated with his role and purpose within the game.

    Too many people (including me) are questioning his methods, decisions and neutrality at present, and that can’t send out too many positives about his perceived standing in his profession.

  • 2

    @ Scrumdown:
    if you wander around on other Rugby websites you will see that the Aussie and All Black supporters dont rate our refs that high anymore. Too many mistakes , and they question our refs a lot lately.

  • 3

    I have not seen the incident but gathering together what has been said….I think it was not Kaplans fault.

    It is important to try and make decisions stay on field. He asked the linesman if it was okay…he said it was.
    He has to show confidence in his reffing team.

  • 5

    i agree with the last 2 posts , i watched the game and the line judge confirmed it was the right ball, the touch judge had no doubt in his answer

  • 6

    I agree that Kaplan was not the guilty person in this one , hope they ban that assistant Referee though. That ball was not even nearly the right one.

    This assistant ref must never get near a International game again.

  • 7

    Just to state the reason why i picked this heading in this article , read the following statement. It is no use putting your head in the sand and pretend there is no legitimate questioning of the ref because YOU dont like to query refs. Take the facts on the chin and repair the damage.

    Meanwhile, SANZAR referees boss Lyndon Bray has confirmed Kaplan made an error in the controversial penalty he awarded the Rebels at the end of their Vodacom Super Rugby Week 2 game against the Brumbies which resulted in Danny Cipriani landing the kick to win the match.

    Brumbies prop Salesi Ma’afu gave a Rebels player little more than a shove after a scrum collapsed and Kaplan awarded the penalty.

    “I think Jonathan would be the first one to say, in hindsight, he would have preferred not to have given that penalty,” Bray said.

    “It was just one of those unfortunate decisions that he’ll learn from.”

    According to SANZAR’s match appointments for the coming weeks in Super Rugby, Kaplan has not been awarded a match until Week 8 when he will handle duties in the all-South African match between the Sharks and Lions in Durban on Saturday, April 9.

  • 8

    7@ superBul:
    Oh vlok. That’s the Lions chances down the river then.


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