Even if ref didn’t blow it, Aussies had time left to beat The Scots
By Fran Thompson
The chief executive of World Rugby joked that referee Craig Joubert “may have needed the bathroom” after he sprinted off the pitch following Australia’s controversial World Cup quarter-final win v. Scotland. Not a sole in Scotland found that funny.
Joubert’s quick exit was due to the fact that he mistakenly pinged prop Jon Welsh for deliberately playing the ball in an offside position following a Scottish knock-on during a final minute line-out. The Scots were ahead by two. It was a bang-bang play. Unfortunately, Jourbet got it wrong. Australian Nick Phipps tried to play the ball before Welsh laid his mits upon it. The correct call should have been a scrumdown to Australia.
Lost in all the hoopla that ensued is the fact that the Aussies still would have had a chance to pull out the victory. With all the talk about the brave Scots, it was two huge tuornover trys that put the Wallabees that close to the RWC 2015’s second huge upset in the first place.
World Rugby conceded that Joubert should have awarded a scrumdown to Australia, while also noting that going to the TMO was not an option under current TMO guidelines. Those guidelines will certainly change bevore Japan 2019. But World Rugby chief exec. Brett Gosper made a valid point in his defense of Joubert: “It is interesting that at the beginning of the tournament everyone thought there was too much TMO and suddenly at the end there is not enough.’’ The Scots were alreadyi fuming over a Jourbert yellow card early in the second half that was also questionable.
My pet peave for four years has been about that same ref refusing to call three obvious ruck infrigements against the host Kiwi’s in the final five minutes of the 20111 RWC final. At the end of that day, France was the better team. Australia was clearly that team in the 2015 quarterfinal. And it is my gut feeling that they would’ve found a way to win, even if Jourbert did get it right in the final 60 seconds.