A former England international referee claims Warren Gatland’s Wales were robbed of a place in the Rugby World Cup final by French official Jerome Garces and says Nigel Owens must now be given the showpiece game.
Angry Springboks fans petitioned World Rugby chief Brett Gosper last week calling for Garces to be taken off their semi-final clash with the Six Nations champions, citing South Africa’s abysmal record of four wins from 14 Tests with the 46-year-old officiating.
But former England ref, Rob Debney, who was among the first raft of professional whistle blowers appointed by the RFU back in 2005, believes it Wales who should be furious with Garces in the wake of their 19-16 defeat in Yokohama on Sunday.
And the close friend of top England official Wayne Barnes, even questioned whether the kicking borefest, that blighted the semi-final was also down to Garces, given his refereeing of the breakdown.
A late Handre Pollard penalty was the difference as the Springboks set up a Rugby World Cup final meeting with England next Saturday.
While questioning that penalty awarded by Garces for players infringing at a South African driving maul, Debney believed Wales should have been awarded a eminently kickable three-pointer when skipper Alun Wyn Jones was adjudged to be holding on to the ball.
Writing his Rugby World Cup column in the Times, Debney said: “He penalised Wales with 10 minutes to go.
“They were on the 10-metre line and generating some good momentum and he incorrectly penalised Alun Wyn Jones for holding on.
“Garces should have penalised South Africa as Franco Mostert did not move away and prevented Elliot Dee from clearing out Francois Louw. Wales should have had a kickable penalty that would have put them 19-16 up.
“Just a few minutes later, he penalised Wales either for coming in from the side at a maul or collapsing it, but he had been letting this sort of thing go all game. Why give it at that stage of the game?
“He changed the way he refereed in the final 10 minutes and contributed to South Africa winning it, which is not what a referee should do.”
Others, including former Wales international Andrew Coombs, have suggested Garces’ apparent decision to penalise Rhys Carre for collapsing that crucial maul for the fateful penalty was the wrong one, with the Wales player accidentally falling over after tripping over a stay South African body.
And given Garces’ performance on Sunday, Debney believes there’s only one referee to take charge of Saturday’s final between England and the Springboks – Welshman Nigel Owens.
“The day before, in the England (v New Zealand) game, Nigel Owens set out his stall early on. Every time there was an opportunity to set some standards he blew the whistle and that positively affected the way the game was played,” added Debney.
“Garces, on the other hand, was reactive rather than proactive – he didn’t referee the context of the game. It has got to be Nigel Owens for the final – it is a no-brainer.”
Source link : https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/wales-south-africa-referee-garces-17156897
Publish date : 2019-10-28 10:38:00