Former Springboks prop Robbi Kempson has argued that the Wallabies should have been penalised in the build-up to Quade Cooper’s match-winning kick.
Cooper made a fairytale return to international rugby, as he slotted a last-gasp penalty to win Australia their Rugby Championship encounter against South Africa, four years on from his last game for the Wallabies.
The 33-year-old fly-half was given the opportunity to win the game thanks to a powerful drive from Australia, which saw the ball squirt out the side of the scrum, which led to South Africa giving away a penalty for holding onto the ball on the ground.
Kempson was analysing the scrum battle on SuperSport, and argued that Wallabies prop Taniela Tupou had scrummaged illegally in the last two set-pieces of the game.
‘That penalty should never have gone to Australia.’
“As we get to the last sequence of scrums, let’s look at the angle of Tupou there again. Right at the angle, flank going in – that’s illegal scrummaging right in front of our referee and he does absolutely nothing about it,” Kempson said.
“This is the scrum that won them the match. Look at the angle of [Tupou’s] back just behind his scrum-half Nic White. Look at the angle going straight in towards the other side.
“You’ll see he turns himself right towards the touchline. That is illegal scrummaging. As you watch the back row they’re coming around the right-hand side. Completely illegal, walking through the gap there.
“That penalty should go to South Africa and should never have gone to Australia.”
Springboks scrum struggles against the Wallabies.
South Africa’s scrum has been a major weapon for the side in the last few years, as they used it to great effect both in their 2019 Rugby World Cup triumph and their series win against the British and Irish Lions.
However, it seriously struggled at times against Australia, and while Kempson believes the last two scrums of the game should have gone South Africa’s way, he did acknowledge that the Wallabies won at least a couple fairly.
The Springboks’ other renowned set-piece, the lineout maul, worked wonders as they scored three tries through it against the Wallabies, but issues at scrum time will be a cause for concern for their coaching team.
The reigning world champions looked blunt in attack with ball in hand and will have to rectify issues in the scrum as well as in their kicking game if they want to have any chance of winning the Rugby Championship.