With 43 seconds left in a cracking Rugby World Cup quarter final, it looked as if Australia were heading home as Scotland led by 2 points. However, in the dying moments, referee Craig Joubert awarded Australia a kickable penalty for what seemed to be a confusing incident.
Many felt that the referee should have went to the TMO to ensure that he got the call right. However, the South African elected against using his supporting officials and instead, he watched on as Bernard Foley kicked the ball over the bar which robbed the Scots of a place in the last four.
“There seems to be some controversy around it and we are doing a full review of that,” World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper said on Monday morning.
“The match officials are assessed by a match assessor, by each team and Joel Jutge, the head of our match officials.
“We have not had that report back so I can’t comment on the specifics of that situation at the moment. Hopefully some time today we will have a little more fact and will communicate that.”
After that report eventually came in, World Rugby confirmed this evening that their review had found that Craig Joubert had made an incorrect decision and that he should have awarded a scrum rather than a penalty to Australia.
Check out World Rugby’s full statement below:
“Following a full review of match officials’ performance, the World Rugby match official selection committee has clarified the decision made by referee Craig Joubert to award a penalty to Australia for offside in the 78th minute of the Rugby World Cup 2015 quarter-final between Australia and Scotland at Twickenham.
“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.
“Overall, it is widely recognised that the standard of officiating at Rugby World Cup 2015 has been very high across 44 compelling and competitive matches to date.”
World Rugby High Performance Match Official Manager Joël Jutge said: “Despite this experience, Craig has been and remains a world-class referee and an important member of our team.”