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'World Rugby has to fix that problem' - All Blacks coach defends Joubert

Steve Hansen says referees must be able to use the TMO for big calls such as last weekend’s in Twickenham.

Murray Kinsella reports from the Oatlands Park Hotel

NEW ZEALAND COACH Steve Hansen is the latest high-profile figure to offer support to referee Craig Joubert after he received extensive criticism for a late penalty decision that allowed Australia to beat Scotland in last weekend’s World Cup quarter-final.

World Rugby released a statement on Monday clarifying that Joubert had made the wrong decision in awarding Australia a penalty rather than a scrum, while the South African was also castigated by several pundits.

Craig Joubert leaves the field at the final whistle Joubert was criticised for heading straight off the pitch at the final whistle. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Joubert was unable to refer the incident to the television match official at the time. The TMO may only be called upon to check acts of foul play, potential infringement in the build-up to a try, the grounding of the ball for tries, and kicks at goal.

That’s where Hansen sees the real issue.

“I don’t think it’s Craig’s problem,” said Hansen at New Zealand’s team hotel this afternoon. “I think it is the system’s problem. You’ve got technology that sits there and everyone says ‘why didn’t he use it?’ But he couldn’t use it.

That’s the problem. World Rugby has to fix that problem. If he could have used it we would have got a different decision. End of story.”

It was always likely to be the case that refereeing decisions would cause controversy at this World Cup – such is sport.

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As his New Zealand side get set to face South Africa in Saturday’s semi-final at Twickenham, Hansen is resigned to the fact that referee Jérôme Garcès will produce errors.

“Referees make mistakes,” said Hansen. “As long as they take breath, they will make them because players do and coaches do. So, if you can accept that the best way to avoid that mistake being the game-winning mistake, for the want of a better term, is to make sure you are in front by enough.

Craig Joubert Joubert is not involved in this weekend's semi-finals. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“When the mistake is made at the end of the game and it is obvious for everyone to see, we get carried away with it. But sometimes they make mistakes at the beginning of the game that have a massive effect on the result.

“No one sees those because they are not caught in the emotion of that last second penalty goal or whatever it might have been.

It’s a really tough game to referee at the moment and we’ve got to find a way to make it simpler for them to get it right.

“Referees have made mistakes from the first time the game was refereed and they will make them again on Saturday and Sunday and probably in the final.

“You’ve just got to accept that.”

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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