Jonathan Kaplan

Jaco Peyper

Referee Jaco Peyper gives a yellow card to Beauden Barrett of the All Blacks during the Bledisloe Cup opener

The performance of Romain Poite in this weekend’s Bledisloe Cup re-match will be under more scrutiny than ever after provocative comments from the All Blacks and Poite’s contemporary Jonathan Kaplan this week.

Kaplan, who refereed 68 Test matches, including seven Bledisloe Cup battles to become the most experienced international referee before his retirement last year, opened the batting with a defence of Jaco Peyper, who has come under fire for his officiating of the Wallabies’ 12-12 draw in Sydney last week.

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Jonathan Kaplan

Jonathan Kaplan

Retired South African referee Jonathan Kaplan says the Crusaders can feel hard done by after a late penalty cost them the Super Rugby title.

The Waratahs beat the Crusaders 33-32 in the Super Rugby final in Sydney last Saturday courtesy of a late penalty by flyhalf Bernard Foley.

The Crusaders looked headed for their eighth Super Rugby crown when flyhalf Colin Slade put them in front with a penalty in the 76th minute.

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Jonathan Kaplan

Jonathan Kaplan

Top retired referee Jonathan Kaplan has called on referees to stamp out the illegal tactic of holding players back in rugby games.

Much of the attention these past few days has been focused on the red card given to Sharks flanker Jean Deysel and his three-week ban for making contact with the face of a Crusaders player out of frustration as his leg was being held.

But there has been little attention to the fact that the tactic of illegally tackling players away from the ruck, or holding onto them is the problem that often causes the frustration for players and causes them to lash out.

While not trying to justify Deysel’s actions, there is an increasing tendency for teams in Vodacom Super Rugby – particularly those from New Zealand – to use the tactic of holding players back, or use up the space in front of the ball, allowing the ball carrier to slip in behind. It does seem to be an Australasian tendency that is slowly increasing in Super Rugby this year.

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