|McCaw at the point at which the ball leaves Codie Taylor's hands.|
This week former International referee Jonathan Kaplan caused quite a stir with comments he made relating to Richie McCaw's controversial late try off a pre-rehearsed lineout move in the dying minutes of New Zealand's victory of South Africa.
Commenting on ratetheref.co.za Kaplan suggests that Garces should have referred the decision upstairs and that Schalk Burger should have been remonstrating with him to do same.
"As a receiver, he has to stand 2m away from the lineout. It is questionable whether he was. Moreover, he cannot move into the lineout to receive the ball until the ball has left the hands of the thrower. It is clear he does start moving before the ball has left the hands of the hooker. The referee never had a clue what was going on. One can see with his body language, that he was quite happy to award the try.Not even a referral!
"No TMO intervention either. And crucially, where was our leadership to INSIST that this important and defining score be verified. Now I really like Schalk Burger as a human being, and I admire him as a rugby player, so I don’t really want to be too critical, but these are the moments that matter. I’m not sure whether he was empowered to challenge, or whether he did at all, but we needed a result here and there was a window of opportunity to get it, and we didn’t identify it."
This is all well and good, if it wasn't for the fact that Kaplan presided over arguably one of the most embarrassing officiating failures in modern professional rugby, in which a the TMO was not utilised, despite irate protestations.
Back in 2011 Mike Phillips scored a try that was shown to have been illegal and Kaplan himself didn't refer it to the TMO. Whatever about the merits of McCaw's try on a technical level, the public criticism of Garces for not utilising the TMO strikes Rugby Onslaught as being a bit rich.