Sunday, April 01, 2007

Jonathan Kaplan post-mortem

July 13, 2006

Last Saturday, the All Blacks destroyed the Wallabies in the front row, the second row and the back row. Test matches have long been said to be won in the forward pack, and if that is true, then the better team was clearly the victor.

But that hasn't stopped a whinging mob from accusing South African referee Jonathan Kaplan of singlehandedly ruining the test match, stealing a famous Wallaby victory and gifting it to the All Blacks.

Of course, that was nothing like the test match most people saw.

But that didn't stop the bitching.

Stephen Jones, the chief rugby correspondent for The Times of London blames Kaplan:

"Kaplan also gave New Zealand a try after a blatant illegality and frankly, some of the officiating at the breakdown defied belief. New Zealand players dived over rucks and drove in at the side all evening and if Elsom’s offence was worth a sin-binning then at least seven All Blacks could have joined him."

So too former Wallaby Rod Kafer, who said Kaplan had made "inexcusable" mistakes.

"Just as we must praise referees who excel, so we must not hesitate to point out blatant mistakes.

"Kaplan was very poor and made two major mistakes within three minutes in the second half," said Kafer.

"The first was when he failed to spot a clear knock-on by (New Zealand's) Mils Muliaina only to call back the Wallabies later when Lote Tuqiri was on his way to the try-line. The pass to him was certainly not forward.

"One does not expect such mistakes from a four-year-old, let alone an international referee," he added.

Not to be outdone, former Wallaby coach Bob Dwyer also piled on.

"If he is a good referee, then I have never coached a rugby team in my life," said Dwyer.

"He is a joke.

"Rocky Elsom's sin binning wasn't even an offence."

With all the whinging, Rugby Planet took it upon themself to examine the actual, y'know, evidence. "Let's try to do it calmly as part of our law discussions," they asked. "If we do not do it in that spirit we end up seeing what we want to see."

The list of charges against Kaplan is as follows:

1. Rocky Elsom did not deserve to be sin-binned. In fact he did not deserve to be penalised.

2. Joe Rokocoko played Stephen Larkham illegally by falling/diving on him.

3. Muliaina's knock-on was not blown.

4. The pass to Lote Tuqiri was not forward and Tuqiri would have scored.

5. The Wallabies were prevented from getting to the ball in the line-out which led to Keven Mealamu's first try.

6. Richie McCaw obstructed which led to Mealamu's second try.

7. Advantage was wrongly played which led to Toeava's try.

That all tells you that the All Blacks did not score a single try and the Wallabies scored three. Ergo, the Wallabies won the match.

The entire piece is long and detailed and breaks down the Law book. It's an eye-opener. Rugby Planet's verdict:

Just as the South Africans are unfair in their attitude to Stuart Dickinson, so the Australians are unfair in their attitude to Jonathan Kaplan. And neither attitude is good for rugby or for refereeing - nor are the unconsidered statements of Rod Kafer and Bob Dwyer.

Kaplan passed the McKenzie test with 6/7. He probably passes this one with 6/7 as well. And his exam was written in the heat of battle.

Entire story.


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