Cape Town – Former New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence has backed French referee Jerome Garces’s decision to award All Black skipper Richie McCaw’s try against the Springboks.
McCaw caught the Boks napping when he scored a match-winning try in the 74th minute of last Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash in Johannesburg.
The All Blacks ran a crafty lineout move close to the Springbok tryline which saw hooker Codie Taylor throw a low ball to McCaw, who joined the lineout from the scrumhalf position before catching the ball and barging over the line.
Brenden Nel, a rugby writer from supersport.com, claims the try should not have been awarded.
Nel claims that McCaw was offside on two counts and that Garces should have referred the decision to the Television Match Official (TMO).
However Lawrence told Radiosport in New Zealand that the try could not have been referred to the TMO and backed Garces’s decision.
“He (Nel) raises a valid discussion,” said Lawrence. “He says it’s a bit clearer on slow-motion, well the referee doesn’t have slow-motion on the field. So I’m not convinced it’s clear and obviously an issue around where Richie was standing and where he left.
“I’m also not convinced it could have been referred to the TMO to check because my understanding of the TMO process is an instant like that can’t be referred and checked.
“Checking whether the receiver was back two metres and did he leave a split second early or was he fine, to my knowledge that can’t be referred to the TMO. That’s a decision that the referee makes live in the moment,” said Lawrence.
Lawrence, 44, retired as a referee in 2012 after copping heavy criticism for the way in which he handled South Africa’s 2011 Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat to Australia in Wellington.
He said the vitriol he suffered from the fall-out after the Springboks’ 11-9 loss to the forced him to retire.
“It got pretty bad,” Lawrence said at the time. “Not really threats on my family as such, there was a concern, but it was mainly aimed at me through social media. On Facebook they launched a ‘get rid of Bryce Lawrence’ site and it was pretty nasty. That was absolutely the reason for my career change.”