Poor decisions soured a great win

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 20 Mar 2012 at 10:06
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They say that moaning about the officiating when you lose is a sign of sour grapes – but surely if you win, you cannot be accused of the same thing? I’m going to have a bash anyway and see how much I can get away with…

There were two decisions, in particular, that went against the Sharks this weekend that could have – and I feel should have – had a drastic impact on the final result and could at best have resulted in an extra log point for the home side, as well as one fewer for the Reds. Both could go on to have an impact when the final log positions are decided, although we obviously can’t say right now what that impact may be.

The first was the assistant ref call that denied the Sharks a seemingly legitimate second try, late in the first half. A superb backline move had seen Lwazi Mvovo saunter over in the left-hand corner and had the try been awarded, the Sharks could have turned just a few points behind the hosts, or perhaps level with them, rather than the 17-10 scoreline which required an even grater second-half fightback. The try did not stand, though, as Willem Alberts was adjudged to have entered a ruck illegally during the build-up. TV replays showed that call to be harsh indeed, with Alberts doing nothing more heinous than hitting the ruck, binding onto an opposition player and driving him away. That’s the way you’re supposed to do it, isn’t it? I’m not sure whether Alberts was meant to apply for the player’s consent in advance, or what the issue was. Anyway, in the final analysis, had that try stood (and I believe it should have), there is reasonable enough cause to believe that the Sharks would have won with a bonus point on Saturday.

The second decision, again from the same Assistant Ref, was even worse. Digby Ioane’s spear tackle on Marcell Coetzee was possibly the most blatant red card offence I’ve seen in a while – and this view was confirmed by Judicial Officer Heron in suspending the thug for 5 weeks (whilst conceding that the offence warranted 8, but a guilty plea reduced the actual ban). How the AR managed to bottle that simplest of calls is something that only he can answer. Fact is, though, the Sharks should have had a one-man advantage for the entire second half and had that been the case, you can bet that the final scoreline would have been somewhat more flattering to the hosts than the 27-22 margin of victory.


  • All the above coupled to Mark Lawrence not picking up a 2-3 metre forward pass that led to a try should have really knocked the stuffing and fight out of the Sharks, and for a brief moment it did, but fortunately they put it behind them and came back like trojans.

  • Comment 1, posted at 20.03.12 10:15:01 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • I quite agree – Alberts (replayed that part several times) entry to the ruck was ordinary compared to some of the games earlier in NZ.

  • Comment 2, posted at 20.03.12 10:17:35 by Caratacus Reply

  • I’d love to know what Kaplan was looking at, that it took the assistant referee to flag that spear tackle. Had that not happened, Ioane could’ve got away unpunished. Furthermore to it, I’d be interested in hearing the assistant’s reasoning for just a yellow.

  • Comment 3, posted at 20.03.12 10:20:40 by rossh_za Reply

  • @Salmonoid (Comment 1) : which one was that? I must’ve missed it…

  • Comment 4, posted at 20.03.12 10:20:50 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 1) : Yup, it went miles forward, and it lead to a Reds try. So you could’ve said The Sharks could’ve smashed the Reds if the Refs had called it according to the Laws in the book.

  • Comment 5, posted at 20.03.12 10:25:29 by JJR Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : It was in the direct build up to their second try, just before the crowd became noticeably.

  • Comment 6, posted at 20.03.12 10:49:02 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 6) : there wasn’t enough of a crowd to be noticeably anything… 🙂

  • Comment 7, posted at 20.03.12 10:50:45 by robdylan Reply
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  • I used to like ML but over the past season or two I have come to appreciate him less and less. It all started with a sharks home game that he gave to the waratahs a couple of seasons back…

  • Comment 8, posted at 20.03.12 11:00:43 by King Shark Reply
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  • guys – we realise that the ref for this game was Jonathan Kaplan, not Mark Lawrence?

  • Comment 9, posted at 20.03.12 11:08:54 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : Go look at the comments on the match thread you can’t miss my rant. I think it was all in capitals. 🙂

  • Comment 10, posted at 20.03.12 11:15:33 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 9) : Mark Lawrence was the blind mouse on the touchline who was parrallel to the forward pass.

  • Comment 11, posted at 20.03.12 11:17:34 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 9) : Yes but that forward pass was directly in Lawrence’s line of vision, he should have picked it up and advised Kaplan, but he had grit in his eyes at that time or needs another optometrist to check his eyes.

  • Comment 12, posted at 20.03.12 11:17:43 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

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  • @rossh_za (Comment 3) : I can answer that from personal experience.

    Your AR has the balls to stick his flag out and intervene and when you push him for a decision because he is the one who saw the incident, doesn’t have the balls to give the right decision. 🙁

  • Comment 13, posted at 20.03.12 11:20:00 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : Speaking of indiscretions, has francois kleinhans been cited or is stomping an opponent on the head allowed in rugby? 😡

  • Comment 14, posted at 20.03.12 11:29:50 by Megatron Reply

  • Rob, there was a third insident when the reds scored their second try if I am not mistaken. The ball was passed out wide on the far side of the field which was a definite forward pass. It was not a clean pass and the ball rolled even further forward when the reds picked it up again and scored. Mark Lwarence was in line of the pass and did not call it. That would have made a bog difference in the scoreline.

  • Comment 15, posted at 20.03.12 11:32:19 by Viking Reply
  • Nothing worse than a linesman who misses incidents he should have seen, and then blows for things that he imagines but that never took place.

  • Comment 16, posted at 20.03.12 11:38:15 by jonnow Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 14) : Stomping on a WP player is not a heinous offence so no use to cite him 😉

  • Comment 17, posted at 20.03.12 11:53:48 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • IS there anywhere I can watch these? They dont seem to be up on RugbyDump yet.

  • Comment 18, posted at 20.03.12 12:04:51 by Just a Fan Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 11) : aaah. Thanks

  • Comment 19, posted at 20.03.12 12:06:24 by robdylan Reply
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  • I actually went back to see if that forward pass was not a chip kick! THAT’s how far forward it was!

    In the defence of the WA penalty – if you look at it live and from the angle the AR saw it, it might look like an infringement, looking at it from another angle you can see him going in scew to get his hand underneath his oppenent who was already lying low. And he came in somewhat from the wrong side. But agree – that was not worth taking the try away.

    These AR talk when they should shut-up or things are 50/50, but boy when there is a 100% certainty, they shoosh like a flippin mouse!

  • Comment 20, posted at 20.03.12 12:06:59 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 20) : “they shoosh like a flippin mouse!”……. 😆 😆 😆 😆

  • Comment 21, posted at 20.03.12 12:09:05 by Just a Fan Reply

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  • and what about the forward pass leading to one of the Reds try?

    But it also shows you that you can win despite the refs, so if you loose seemingly because of them one should not moan too much…

  • Comment 22, posted at 20.03.12 12:09:38 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 22) : that’s the one I am refering too!

  • Comment 23, posted at 20.03.12 12:18:40 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 23) : just read it now – was too impatient to post the comment 😀

  • Comment 24, posted at 20.03.12 12:22:52 by rekinek Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 11) : there is the saying in Polish “the shoemaker walks shoeless” I always suspected it to be truth :mrgreen:

  • Comment 25, posted at 20.03.12 12:24:12 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 25) : in the case of Mark Lawrence it is the Optometrist is blind! LOL

  • Comment 26, posted at 20.03.12 12:31:41 by Ice Reply
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  • Guys call me if I’m wrong but shouldn’t kaplan have blown a yellow in the second half for the amount of penalties he allowed in one phase..I think the reds were blown 3 times for offsides and once for something before kaplan asked for discipline..I mean when you look at skeates yellow in the stormers game it was after 1 offence..

  • Comment 27, posted at 20.03.12 12:39:52 by shaniboi Reply

  • @shaniboi (Comment 27) : I agree, there was 4 penelties just before the tryline and he kept taking it back instead of giving a card

  • Comment 28, posted at 20.03.12 12:49:54 by Ice Reply
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  • @shaniboi (Comment 27) : @Ice (Comment 28) : even that painfull Stransky pointed that out during the match

  • Comment 29, posted at 20.03.12 12:58:05 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

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  • @JJR (Comment 5) : I looked at the footage again last night because I saw you mentioning this in another thread and had missed it during the live game. The angle of the hands are clearly forward just before the pass is made.

    @shaniboi (Comment 27) : You’re right but he only warned them on the very last infringement – no idea why but perhaps the previous infringements were not deemed malicious?

  • Comment 30, posted at 20.03.12 13:12:59 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 29) : And there is the reason it shouldn’t have been a YC. Stransky calls for all sorts of stuff that he has no objectivity on.

    Those penalties may have been repeated but they were isolated from the point of view that the Reds hadn’t been doing it all game long. He warned them and that was right.

  • Comment 31, posted at 20.03.12 13:17:06 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @vanmartin (Comment 30) : His warning was for repeated infringements, so it would have been for the cummulative number of PKs raher than any specific reason on the last one.

  • Comment 32, posted at 20.03.12 13:19:13 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 31) : yeah but he called it for the Sharks so I thought he may be right, normally he shouts against the Sharks 😈 but mind you by this stage we were winning so it fits with his “i’ll back the winner commentating” 😈

  • Comment 33, posted at 20.03.12 13:21:24 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

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  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 33) : He favours the SA teams heavily in his commentating. It irks me no end.

  • Comment 34, posted at 20.03.12 13:23:14 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 32) : Thanks – missed the mention of repeated infringements!

  • Comment 35, posted at 20.03.12 13:50:31 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 34) : Who Stransky? He comes across to me in exactly the opposite way. I always think he speak against us more than the foreigners….

  • Comment 36, posted at 20.03.12 14:03:15 by Just a Fan Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : Thats what I said. 😳 but should have ended with irritated.

  • Comment 37, posted at 20.03.12 14:07:42 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 37) : 🙂

  • Comment 38, posted at 20.03.12 14:14:00 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 20) : That huge forward pass just before the second Reds try was pobably missed by Kaplan and Lawrence, because it looked like the ball went back off a Sharks defender´s hand.

    Not making excuses for them, though. Both have seen a dip in the quality of their officiating. Give me Jason Japhta any day.

  • Comment 39, posted at 20.03.12 18:10:30 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @rhineshark (Comment 39) : I would like to see Jafta coming through to SupeRugby someday soon. He is probably the best ref in the Currie Cup at the moment. IMHO and that doesn’t count for much 🙂

  • Comment 40, posted at 20.03.12 19:12:00 by lostfish Reply
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  • 😈 Thanx for this piece Rob. Now I feel better about by ranting about the 3 stooges 😈

  • Comment 41, posted at 20.03.12 21:45:06 by KILLER SHARK Reply
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  • It seems the Sharks get the raw end of the deal, when it comes to ref decisions, not only at home but also overseas.

  • Comment 42, posted at 21.03.12 06:19:05 by MarktheShark Reply


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