ALAIN ROLLAND: The Lions decided not to make the game refereeing decisions… officials had a good day

ALAIN ROLLAND: The Lions decided the game by their impressive second half, not by the ref’s decisions… suggesting the umpires had a good day at the office

  • The umpires didn’t decide the match, which is a sign that they had a successful day
  • It was the Lions’ performance after the break that proved decisive
  • Officials were right about attempts by Willie le Roux and Damian de Allende. to exclude
  • Hamish Watson’s decision could have gone either way, so the referee wasn’t wrong

In a test match as intense as this one, you always get a lot of tight phone calls. However, I think most people will be talking about the game: how the Lions played, how good the scenery was, how well the chase worked in the second half. I would be very surprised if the discussion around the match were about the referee.

It was the teams who decided the outcome of the match, not the umpires. That is usually a sign of a successful day at the office.

There will of course be some who think that some decisions should have gone differently, no matter how good the umpires were, because they support the team that lost. That’s life.

Some people will always blame the officials, but overall they had a good day at the office

INCIDENT 1 – 47min

Willie le Roux scores a try, but is disallowed after assessment by TMO for offside.

This is the right decision. You should be looking at the kicker’s standing foot, NOT the foot in the air hitting the ball. The back foot defines the offside line, not the point of contact with the ball.

It’s no different than when you’re defending your goal line. You may be leaning forward, with your torso and hands in front of the line (but not on the floor), but your feet are on or behind the line.

The offside position is from the back foot. The referee gave the try on the field. In order for the TMO to ignore that, there must be compelling evidence.

There was enough to show that Le Roux stood before the planted foot.

The decision to rule out Willie le Roux's attempt for offside in the second half was the right one

The decision to rule out Willie le Roux’s attempt for offside in the second half was the right one

INCIDENT 2 – 50min

Faf de Klerk scores, TMO judges a possible knock-on of Pieter-Steph du Toit but the try is awarded.

The match officials got this spot-on. The last angle they showed on television was convincing. Du Toit never touched the ball with his hand. It hit his leg and went backwards, after which his teammate picked up the ball. I don’t think anyone will have any complaints.

INCIDENT 3 – 65 minutes

Hamish Watson’s dangerous tackle. Some people will view that tackle in the context of the game and not consider it particularly dangerous.

Others will look at the technicalities of the tackle, see how the feet are lifted above the horizontal and consider it, within the laws, a yellow card.

Just giving a penalty doesn’t make it a bad call. If the referee had drawn a yellow card, that would also have been an acceptable decision.

The game is not black and white. Every decision does not fit neatly into a box.

Hamish Watson could have been shown yellow, but that doesn't mean the referee was wrong

Hamish Watson could have been shown yellow, but that doesn’t mean the referee was wrong

INCIDENT 4 – 72min

Damian de Allende scores a try, but a knock-on is ruled out.

Again, the officials were right. There was a match in the air between Liam Williams and Cheslin Kolbe. You can clearly see that the final touch of the ball came from the South African winger and went in a forward direction. That’s enough convincing evidence.

The referee asked to check three things: the knock-on, then to see if there was a pull-back, and then the grounding. Once the knock-on is given, the first offense in the series, what happens next doesn’t matter anymore. It was another nice process from the team of match officials.

The umpires were again late at the right time when Damian de Allende's attempt was ruled out

The umpires were again late at the right time when Damian de Allende’s attempt was ruled out