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The Domino Effect

The temptation to join in the free-for-all in lambasting Romain Poite is huge, and it is difficult to find something new to say.

The indignation we experienced after the event was not limited to South Africans:

(Jonathan Davies) @JiffyRugby: What a disgraceful yellow card for Du Plessis. Great tackle. It will be touch rugby next. Officials need to have a feel for the game.

(Will Carling) @willcarling: Du Plessis did not deserve 1st yellow card. The 2nd was not intentional – but possibly deserved. But not a red. Huge blow for Boks #rugby.

Even Dan Carter tweeted that it was a totally legal tackle, and that he landed awkwardly on his shoulder, which led to the injury.

The International Rugby Board surprised all and sundry by actually acknowledging that they, too, thought that the referee got it wrong:

Following an initial review, the IRB confirms that it was incorrect for referee Romain Poite to issue a yellow card to Bismarck du Plessis in the 17th minute of The Rugby Championship match between New Zealand and South Africa in Auckland on Saturday. 

Just as players and coaches make mistakes, the decision was an unfortunate case of human error by the match officials, who, having reviewed the match, fully recognise and accept that they made a mistake in the application of law. 

I find it interesting that they call it a human error by the match officials, and not the referee alone.

This comment by the IRB is devoid of any merit. If you have two highly qualified assistant- referees, plus a TV referee, plus access to the big screen, and you watched the incident over and over again, and still stick to your original decision, then I smell a rat. A friend on Facebook commented that this may well be how he is making provision for his retirement.

At least it appears as if it will be an early retirement, but that will not undo the wrong.

The domino effect of the first wrong decision, which led to Bismarck being sent off for the perceived second offence, will continue to haunt us, and keep us wondering what would have happened if Poite got it right.

Bismarck was the best player on the field for 32 minutes, and no doubt his presence would have had a massive impact on the result of the game. Now, ironically, all we can do is to “looks at the scoreboard”.

As difficult as it is for me to be objective, I am of the opinion that the All Blacks probably would have won the game. We made a number of errors which you cannot afford against the All Blacks. Jean de Villiers hinted at this afterwards when he said that we have come a long way, but still need to do a lot get to where we want to be.

If the IRB is serious about the future of rugby, then this incident should spark a proactive reaction to prevent incidents of this nature.

The introduction of appeals in games like tennis and cricket have done wonders to set human error right. I am sure that, had Jean de Villiers been able to appeal, and the whole world watched Poite review his decision, he would have been forced to change his mind. He could even confer with his learned assistants, if he wanted somebody to share the blame in case he got it wrong.

Until they do this, the unfair treatment meted out to players of certain countries, including the preferential treatment of the All Blacks, will continue.

Soos dit nou maar gaan, is al wat oorbly, die humor waarvoor ons nasie so lief is as daar iets groots gebeur

If Romain Poite and Bryce Lawrence were drowning, and you only had time to save one, which type of beer would you crack open?

Ek het ‘n bottel Rupert & Rothschild Classique vir die leser wat, na my mening, die beste stukkie humor oor hierdie voorval aanstuur. Kliek hier vir my e-pos adres.


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