Scots left to ponder quarter final error

Ref got key decision wrong, admits World Rugby

Craig JoubertRugby administrators have made the rare admission that referee Craig Joubert got it wrong when he awarded a penalty to Australia which knocked Scotland out of the World Cup.

South African Joubert has divided the sport following his decision in the dying moments which turned an unlikely upset into a one-point advantage for the Wallabies.

He made matters worse by running off the pitch at the final whistle without the usual handshakes with the teams. Gavin Hastings, the former Scotland international, described Joubert’s hurried exit as a “disgrace”.

While it has been pointed out that he followed correct procedure in not referring the decision to the television match official (TMO), World Rugby has now admitted that a scrum should have been awarded to Australia rather than a penalty.

However, no explanation has been given for Joubert’s departure from the pitch and whether it was because of hostility from the crowd or the players. He had a bottle thrown at him.

A statement read: “The selection committee confirms that Joubert applied World Rugby Law 11.7 penalising Scotland’s Jon Welsh, who had played the ball following a knock-on by a team-mate, resulting in an offside. On review of all available angles, it is clear that after the knock-on, the ball was touched by Australia’s Nick Phipps and Law 11.3(c) states that a player can be put on-side by an opponent who intentionally plays the ball.

“It is important to clarify that, under the protocols, the referee could not refer to the television match official in this case and therefore had to rely on what he saw in real time. In this case Law 11.3(c) should have been applied, putting Welsh onside. The appropriate decision, therefore, should have been a scrum to Australia for the original knock-on.”

Former England international Lawrence Dallaglio questioned some of the strong criticism of Joubert.

“I am not terribly impressed with some of the comments aimed towards Craig Joubert. By rugby players, mostly former. You don’t need to say that. He knows he has made a mistake, we know he has made a mistake and it has cost Scotland a place in the semi-final.”

World Rugby chief executive, Brett Gosper, also defended Joubert, but said the role of the TMO would be reviewed after the tournament ,but that the type of incidents which can be reviewed during matches will not change during the World Cup.

He said: “We will review everything after this tournament. It is interesting that at the beginning of the tournament everyone thought there was too much TMO and suddenly at the end there is not enough. If we TMO’d every decision a ref made we would be here all night. You do have to draw the line, the balance has to be found between the critical TMO calls and the ones that are in the referee’s domain.”


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