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Springboks’ Advisor Defends TMO Call On Disputed Try

  • July 8, 2024
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Springboks’ Advisor Defends TMO Call On Disputed Try

Springbok national laws advisor Jaco Peyper says he would likewise be annoyed if the try was awarded to Ireland when James Lowe’s attempt to keep the ball in play resulted in alert wing Cheslin Kolbe to score at Loftus Stadium on Saturday.

The disputed try involved Lowe’s attempt to keep the ball in play, which Kolbe intercepted and converted into a try for South Africa.

Following Handre Pollard’s kick into touch, Lowe attempted to knock the ball back into play. However, Kolbe intercepted and raced clear in for the try. Referee Luke Pearce initially awarded the try, but it was referred to the TMO for review.

Pearce upheld his on-field decision due to the lack of clear and obvious evidence to overturn it. This decision resonated with Peyper.

“How do I follow this? It’s fine margins,” Peyper said when asked by Sportswire. “They [officials] have to be clear. It was a big test match, so it’s better to have one gray area than do too little.”

Peyper explained that the on-field decision of a try stands unless proven otherwise. “If it’s suspicious, play through; the try stands,” he said. “They couldn’t definitively prove the ball went over the ground, so they stood with the on-field decision.”

He acknowledged that the call could have gone the other way. “Again, if we were on the other side, we would have felt aggrieved. But they [officials] would have followed a clear process.”

Lowe, who had a filled day on Saturday, initially thought he had scored a try, but it was disallowed due to an infringement. He later assisted on Ireland’s try by Jamie Osborne. However, Lowe’s misjudgment on a deep restart by Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu gifted the Boks a scrum near the try line. The powerful South African pack dominated the Irish scrum, resulting in a penalty try.

Peyper also aired his views of the much-vaunted Bomb Squad where coach Rassie Erasmus brought them in the 49th minute – Malcolm Marx, Gerhard Steenekamp, Vincent Koch, Salmaan Moerat, RG Snyman and Marco Van Staden taking the field.  

Some critics believe this tactic exploits a loophole in the current 6/2 or 7/1 split rule allowing for a heavy forward presence, similar to their strategy in the Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand. Reports suggest World Rugby might address this tactic in upcoming rule changes.

“According to the laws of the game, you can do it,” stated Peyper, a former Test referee. “I wouldn’t say it’s dangerous to bring on fresh legs at the same time. Ireland also used a 6/2 split during the Six Nations. Player safety is controlled by World Rugby’s shape of the game guidelines.”

With the series score at 1-0 in favor of South Africa, the second Test will be played at Kings Park Stadium this coming Saturday.

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Robin-Duke Madlala

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