Jonathan Kaplan has been hammered again for a perceived bias against Australian rugby.
Wallabies coach John Connolly and former Wallabies and Brumbies midfielder Rod Kafer said Kaplan had got it wrong several times in the game and it had cost the Wallabies points.
Kafer, a rugby analyst for Fox Sports, said Kaplan had made mistakes you would not associate with a four year old.
“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.
Connolly told reporters that many people had quizzed him about Kaplan and the ‘poor game’ he had.
Connolly said Kaplan was wrong to sin-bin Rocky Elsom and he questioned the try awarded to Richie McCaw, not because of anything McCaw did but because he felt Joe Rokocoko had illegally fallen on Stephen Larkham.
Morris Gilbert of the Beeld reports that SA manager of referees Andre Watson agrees with Connolly that Rokocoko should have been penalised. Watson also felt that Keven Mealamu’s second try should not have been awarded and that Australia should have won a penalty for a New Zealand lineout infringement.
“Technically, Rokocoko did not dive on Larkham; he landed on his knees next to him. However, he had his arms on Larkham, which prevented him from getting up. “Who knows what would have happened if Larkham did manage to get up. It should have been a penalty for the Wallabies,” said Watson. “I would like to look at it again (Mealamu’s second try) but it seemed to me the arm of an Australian jumper was pulled down in the lineout. That’s why Australia lost possession and why Keven Mealamu was able to pick up the ball and fall over. It may have been, instead, a penalty against the All Blacks.”
New Zealanders were unanimous that Kaplan had been brilliant and they rate him in the top two of world referees.