Craig Joubert has been slammed for his decision by all nations in the Rugby World Cup 2015. The referee made a last-minute call, giving Australia a penalty. That put the team one point ahead, knocking Scotland out of the World Cup.
All northern hemisphere hopes were on Scotland to get through. While many admittedly did not have much hope, the Scottish side went out with guns blazing. The team that usually struggles in the first half and sees victory in the second proved that it was worthy of the place in the quarter-finals. It was the first time the team had been in the quarter-finals since 2007, and getting through to the semi-finals would have ended a losing streak for the past 24 years.
Scotland may have only had three tries compared to Australia’s five, but the Guardian points out that there were five successful penalties from Scotland in the Rugby World Cup game. Ben Foley had a poor first half, failing to convert any of the tries scored by his players. He did make a comeback in the second half, successfully converting all tries and kicking two penalties.
There were a few questionable calls made during the game, but none as bad as the one in the final minute. Just after Mark Bennett scored a shock try after intercepting a loose pass and Greg Laidlaw converted it, the team was facing a victory of 34-32. However, Joubert awarded a penalty to Australia, after claiming Jon Welsh was offside after a fumbled ball.
The big screen made it clear that Nick Phipps possibly touched the ball, knocking it forward. Even the Australian team agrees that it likely came off Phipps. Rather than being a penalty for being offside, it should have been a scrum for accidental offside since Phipps knocked it on.
The rules for the Rugby World Cup 2015 state that the TMO does not need to be consulted if it does not involve a try or foul play. However, many argue that in this instance, Joubert should have asked for clarification. The penalty was awarded in kicking distance, and Foley managed to score the crucial three points to put the team one point ahead. Scotland had no time to come back from that and was eliminated from the 2015 World Cup. This is the first time a northern hemisphere team has not made it through to the semi-finals. France and Ireland had already been pummelled by New Zealand and Argentina, and Wales lost its game against South Africa in the final minutes.
Despite the loss, Cotter has praised his team. The side played well for the whole 80 minutes. Captain Laidlaw is also proud of his team but says that that one decision did not lose them the game. There were other mistakes the team made, including seeing Sean Maitland sent off for a deliberate knock-on. This call has also been questioned by a number of commentators, but not as much as that one in the final minute.
World Rugby has confirmed there will be a full investigation into the call. This follows other looks into decisions made in the run-up to the Rugby World Cup 2015 after hosting nation England was eliminated from the group stage.
[Featured photo by David Rodgers/Getty Images]