World Cup Admits Joubert Erred In Granting Wallabies Penalty In Final Moments Of Scotland Game

20/10/2015 7:17 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:50 PM AEST
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Rugby World Cup's governing body has determined referee Craig Joubert erred in granting a penalty to Australia in the dying minutes of the match against Scotland, which ended up securing a Wallabies' win.

In a statement issued overnight, World Rugby said a review of camera footage after the game found Australia should have been awarded a scrum instead.

The issue centered on a Scotland's Jon Welsh, who had played the ball following a knock-on by a team-mate, resulting in an offside.

Joubert applied a rule which allowed Australia a penalty kick, which was successful from the boot of Bernard Foley.

11.7 Offside after a knock-on

When a player knocks-on and an offside team-mate next plays the ball, the offside player is liable to sanction if playing the ball prevented an opponent from gaining an advantage.

Sanction: Penalty kick

Source: World Rugby

But the review found the ball was then touched by Australia's Nick Phipps, in which case the offside player Welsh would have been determined onside, and the only penalty applied to the original knock on.

"The appropriate decision, therefore, should have been a scrum to Australia for the original knock-on," the World Rugby statement read.

11.3 Being put onside by opponents

In general play, there are three ways by which an offside player can be put onside by an action of the opposing team. These three ways do not apply to a player who is offside under the 10-Metre Law ...

(c) Intentionally touches ball. When an opponent intentionally touches the ball but does not catch it, the offside player is put onside.

Source: World Rugby

South African Joubert, long one of rugby's most controversial referees, has been criticised by fans and commentators for the call.

It was suggested he should have sought assistance from the television match official to determine the right call.

But World Rugby defended Joubert's actions.

"Under the protocols, the referee could not refer to the television match official in this case and therefore had to rely on what he saw in real time," the statement read.

World Rugby High Performance Match Official Manager Joël Jutge said: "Despite this experience, Craig has been and remains a world-class referee and an important member of our team."

After the game, Australia coach Michael Cheika said Scotland must learn to live with the call.

"You have to live with the ones you get and the ones you don't. It is what it is and you just deal with it," he said.

"Because of some things that have happened to me in the past, I've become quite neutral on the topic of referees."

Scotland has not commented on the World Rugby statement.

Joubert sprinted off the field at the conclusion of the match. It was suggested he had been pelted by bottles from the crowd. He has yet to make a statement, but will not officiate at this weekend's semi finals.

England's Wayne Barnes will preside over the Australia-Argentina match on Sunday, while Jérôme Garcès will referee the South Africa-New Zealand game on Saturday.

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