England’s coaching staff may want a rulebook to hand tomorrow night in their World Cup semi-final against South Africa after World Rugby reportedly decided Cheslin Kolbe’s sensational charge down against France last week was ‘illegal’. Kolbe earned rave reviews for his charge down at a crucial part of the Springbok’s quarter-final against France.
Thomas Ramos had a chance to put France ahead with a long conversion near the sidelines with the scores locked at 12-12. The unusual act was reviewed at the time but Kolbe was originally adjudged to have timed his charge down to perfection.
However, a report from Midi Olympique claim World Rugby have now concluded that Kolbe had in fact set off too early. That would have resulted in the kick being retaken and potentially giving France a crucial two points had Ramos converted his conversion.
But that wasn’t the only incident from the match that World Rugby felt Ben O’Keeffe got wrong. It’s claimed that at least five major errors were identified with three going against France, including the charge down from Kolbe.
They included a dangerous clean-out by South Africa’s Pieter-Steph du Toit early in the match, with World Rugby feeling it was deserving of a yellow card. Kwagga Smith’s turnover in the second half also should have resulted in a penalty to France.
The French also got away with a few decisions that went their way as Damian Penaud was adjudged to have been lucky to escape a yellow card in the ninth minute. Finally, Cameron Woki should have reportedly been penalised for offsides when he prevented Faf de Klerk from passing to his team-mate for a drop goal attempt.
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The same referee has been appointed for tomorrow’s semi-final, meaning England may need to be cautious of any more major errors creeping in. O’Keeffe gave his thoughts on the controversial quarter-final earlier this week, admitting he could understand France’s frustrations.
“It’s obviously a very emotional time,” O’Keeffe said. “I just try to respect that and give them space. Players and coaches are going to say things, whether you win or lose. I know that we’re never perfect as referees, you definitely make errors in the game. But comments that players can make, they can do that after the game.
“I’m sure everything’s fine, we’ve done my review and we’ll reach out and get things back on track as well. But I understand the sentiment after a big match like that.”
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