5 Most Controversial Referee Decisions in Rugby History - Ruck

5 Most Controversial Referee Decisions in Rugby History

Pilloried for the decisions they give and castigated for the ones they don’t, referees do not have an easy job.

These days it’s even harder, as technology allows their every decision to be dissected and discussed by the watching public.

However, some calls are just so bad, they deserve to be pulled apart time and time again.

Organised in chronological order, this is not an all-encompassing list, so feel free to add your own refereeing gaffes in the comments section below.

#5. Scotland v Australia a the 2015 World Cup

Scotland were heavy underdogs in this game and yet a Mark Bennett interception try with seven minutes to go, seemed to have given Scotland the victory and place in the semi finals.

With 2 minutes left to play, Scotland make a hash of their lineout, the ball bobbles around a few times and Joubert awards a penalty to Australia for Scotland playing the ball in an offside position.

At the time, the TMO couldn’t be used to review these sorts of incidents, so Craig Joubert was left to make a decision based on what he saw in that split second. Unfortunately for him, the penalty incident was replayed on the big screen as the kick was taken and the crowd could see the ball had hit an Australian player.

The game finished with Joubert beating a hasty retreat from the ground, after Foley had kicked the penalty to give Australia a 35-34 point victory.

World Rugby later released a statement saying that Joubert had got it wrong.


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