World Rugby : Joubert penalty was wrong

Rugby World Cup organisers have now confirmed that Referee Craig Joubert was wrong when he awarded Australia a penalty which effectively won them the match against Scotland.

As a result of the penalty in the 78th minute which Bernard Foley kicked Scotland were eliminated from the World Cup and Australia progressed to the Semi-finals.

Scotland led 34-32 at Twickenham when Jon Welsh was ruled deliberately offside for playing the ball after a knock-on by a Scotland player.

The governing body said that, because Australia’s Nick Phipps touched the ball, “the appropriate decision should have been a scrum to Australia for the original knock-on”.

In the statement World Rugby said that, “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.”

“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. ”

The extraordinary statement from the body that runs rugby around the world and the world cup does not offer Scotland any apology or resolution to the fact that they were wrongly eliminated from the world cup as the penalty kick put Australia into the lead. It also effectively throws Joubert “under the bus”.

World Rugby’s statement puts them in the awkward situation that Australia will contest the Rugby World Cup semi-finals and have the potential to win the tournament.

Should Australia not go on to win the tournament whatever else happens will have a bearing on the final result of the winner of the tournament which effectively undermines whoever goes on to win the tournament.

World Rugby High Performance Match Official Manager Joel Jutge said, “Despite this experience, Craig has been and remains a world-class referee and an important member of our team.”

Joubert has however not been selected to officiate in this weekend’s semi-finals and England’s Wayne Barnes will oversee Australia against Argentina on Sunday.

Frenchman Jerome Garces will referee South Africa versus New Zealand on Saturday.

Referee Craig Joubert is available for the Rugby World cup final.

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