Rugby WC final result plunged into controversy as decision ‘outside rules’

The All Blacks’ agonising 12-11 defeat to in this year’s final has been plunged into controversy. It has been claimed World Rugby have privately acknowledged to the All Blacks that the ruling out of Aaron Smith’s try during their clash with the Springboks was “outside the rules”.

New Zealand publication Stuff, claims the governing body is refusing to make their acknowledgement public while the report goes on to add there are ongoing discussions with World Rugby about publicly clarifying that the TMO ruling breached the rules of the sport.

The try was ruled out when TMO Tom Foley spotted a knock-on by Ardie Savea at the lineout before Smith bundled the ball over South Africa’s try line in the 54th minute. Referee Wayne Barnes chalked off the try after reviewing the footage on the monitor.

However, the knock-on happened four phases before the try while the TMO only has the power to look back over two phases of play. The TMO protocols that were updated in 2022 state that the TMO can only intervene for “all clear and obvious knock-on or throw forward infringements within two phases leading to a possible try”.

But former New Zealand head coach Ian Foster refused to place the blame on the referee during his post-match press conference. “We’ve got to have perspective about this,” said Foster. “It’s a tough game to referee.

“There is a lot of pressure on. Wayne is a quality person and has been a quality referee for a long, long time. I didn’t agree with a number of his decisions last night but that doesn’t change the fact he’s a quality person and quality ref.

“We’ve got to own what we own. I think if you look at the issues in the game, many of them were outside of his control.” This comes at a time in which there is a great deal of debate over how much influence the TMO should have on the referee.

Retired referee Nigel Owens, who officiated the Rugby World Cup final in 2015, has previously stated that it “feels like TMO is refereeing games” while Former England player turned pundit Austin Healey believes video technology is “spoiling the game”.

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