Live scores
Live Commentary
Stormers : 25
Reds : 19
| Fulltime

Jonathan Kaplan – time to call it quits

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

 , , ,

141 Have your say

Popular article! 8,384 reads

    Jonathan KaplanJonathan Kaplan must go. The arrogant South African rugby referee made a monumental blunder in yesterday’s Ireland v Wales Six-Nations clash at the Millennium Stadium that cost the men-in-green a crack at the Triple Crown.

    But it’s not the first time by a long shot, and if he’s allowed to continue, it sure won’t be the last, by a longer shot.

    In the 50th minute of a tight game, Welsh captain Matthew Rees made a quick thrown-in, which resulted in half-back Mark Phillips scoring what turned out to be the match-winning try – Wales home 19-13.

    But the throw-in wasn’t made with the ball kicked into touch – the try was illegal.

    Kaplan conferred with his touch-judge, and awarded the try, refusing point-blank the frantic appeal by Ireland’s skipper Brian O’Driscoll to go upstairs.

    “That was a huge moment, and why TMOs are there to check those questionable tries,” said O’Driscoll, one of the most revered players in international rugby.

    Arrogant alright, Kaplan’s made a career out of it – rugby doesn’t need it, nor deserve it.

    While Ireland’s spitting chips, with Welsh coach Warren Gatland agreeing it was an illegal try, every team has been forced to cop Kaplan’s arrogance, and lack of people management skills, he can’t keep treating internationals like naughty kindergarten kids.

    But that’s exactly what he’s been doing since his international debut in 1996, controlling the Namibia-Zimbabwe game, in Harare.

    It’s beyond belief he has been allowed to become the most-capped international ref with 59 matches, as he’s universally known as the nemesis, after a litany of unfathomable decisions.

    Like the Rebels-Brumbies Super 15 clash, at AAMI Park.

    Kaplan missed a blatant forward pass that gifted the Brumbies the lead late in the game with a Henry Speight try, but “made amends” by awarding the Rebels a penalty on time, which Danny Cipriani converted for a 25-24 win.

    The penalty was an atrocious decision, at worst it was a “handbags at dawn” minor dust-up, but it handed the Rebels their first victory.

    Despite his many shortcomings, Kaplan has the unqualified support of the IRB, and in more recent times, the governing body boss of refs Paddy O’Brien, himself a questionable ref during his spotted career.

    The perfect example Christchurch 2006 – All Blacks-Wallabies.

    Kaplan sin-binned Wallaby backrower Rocky Elsom for three alleged infringements at the tackle, and during those 10 minutes the men-in-black scored two converted tries.

    In the same game, All Black skipper Richie McCaw was penalised three times in 18 minutes for the identical offence, but stayed on the paddock.

    “It was a subjective call,” chirped Kiwi O’Brien.

    Of course it was – not wrong, just subjective.

    In the after-game interview, Wallaby coach John Connolly said “We have problems with Kaplan”, and was severely reprimanded by the IRB for having the audacity to complain.

    It stinks, and there are far too many similar stories to Christchurch from the majority of teams Kaplan has refereed, with the NSW Waratahs leading the charge after losing 80% of their games over the years to Kaplan’s incessant whistle.

    There is an answer to the Kaplan problem, with former Wallaby skipper John Eales providing the perfect retort.

    In the 1999 World Cup final, the French were repeatedly gouging Wallaby eyes, using the slipper, and genital grabbing – but another arrogant South African referee Andre Watson wasn’t interested.

    Eales had a torn cornea in a swollen right eye, Richard Harry, Michael Foley, and George Gregan, all suffered eye injuries – David Wilson was kicked in the face, lying on the ground – and there were a lot of sore genitals.

    Eales had enough, he walked up to Watson and told him if he didn’t stop the illegal carnage, he was taking the Wallabies off the field in protest, and Watson can sort it out with the IRB afterwards.

    It was a dramatic statement from another revered international, that produced a dramatic change in Watson’s attitude.

    Suddenly there was a spate of penalties against the French, the carnage stopped, and the Wallabies went on to regain the coveted Cup 35-12. It was Watson’s last appearance.

    And good riddance.

    The quicker Jonathan Kaplan suffers the same fate, the better.

    Send him back exclusively to the South African circuit, but there’s a growing belief they won’t cop him either.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

    This video is trending right now! Submit your videos for the chance to win a share of $10,000!

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (141)

    • March 14th 2011 @ 6:59am
      Atawhai Drive said | March 14th 2011 @ 6:59am | ! Report

      Kaplan is well past his best, which was never very good anyway, but the real culprit in the Wales-Ireland fiasco was assistant referee Peter Allan, of Scotland. Kaplan asked Allan if the correct ball had been used for the lineout throw and Allan replied that it had.

      Could Kaplan have called in the TMO? I’m not sure. But the fact is that Wales won the game helped along by a try that should never have been awarded.

      The Australian’s Wayne Smith has written a good piece this morning in which he argues that referees, like players, need to be held accountable for their errors. We can only hope that Kaplan and Allan don’t get any appointments in the World Cup this year.

      • March 14th 2011 @ 7:13am
        Colin N said | March 14th 2011 @ 7:13am | ! Report

        If you’ve ever seen Peter Allan take charge in the Magners League you will find that he is a very poor referee and I’m surprised he is running the line an international match.

      • March 14th 2011 @ 7:31am
        Jerry said | March 14th 2011 @ 7:31am | ! Report

        Kaplan couldn’t have called in the TMO, he did nothing wrong in this matter. He had the presence of mind to ask if the quick throw was correctly taken (eg, the same ball) and got poor advice from his assistant.

        • Roar Guru

          March 14th 2011 @ 12:10pm
          Poth Ale said | March 14th 2011 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

          “aplan couldn’t have called in the TMO, he did nothing wrong in this matter. He had the presence of mind to ask if the quick throw was correctly taken (eg, the same ball) and got poor advice from his assistant.”

          Except as you’ve confirmed below, Jerry, the ball was handled by a third party before the quick throw in and Kaplan clearly saw the ballboy hand the ball to the Welsh hooker.

          • March 14th 2011 @ 1:12pm
            Jerry said | March 14th 2011 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

            From that replay it does look like he was looking in the direction of Rees and the ballboy, however, without a closeup, you can’t actually say he’s definitely looking at the ballboy giving the ball.

            • Roar Guru

              March 14th 2011 @ 1:17pm
              Poth Ale said | March 14th 2011 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

              He was five metres from them walking towards them. Unless he was admiring someone in the crowd, he could hardly have failed to notice it.

              I note that Rees is claiming that he just picked up the ball and assumed it was the correct one. 🙂

              • March 14th 2011 @ 1:29pm
                Jerry said | March 14th 2011 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

                Are you familiar with the “Spot the gorilla” video?

              • Roar Guru

                March 15th 2011 @ 2:32am
                Poth Ale said | March 15th 2011 @ 2:32am | ! Report

                Jerry – yes I am.

                I take your point, but you have to ask what was the equivalent of counting basketballs thrown by people in white shirts that served as a distraction for not seeing the handover of the ball?

                Kaplan’s job at that point was focussed on policing a lineout from a ball that had gone out on the full, and the mark had been brought back as a result. Given that Kaplan had been in this situation a couple of times before, presumably he’d be aware of the issue about a) the correct ball being used and b) it not being handled by anyone else.

                If he had other things on his mind, like what he was going to have for his dinner later on, then I can see how he didn’t see the gorilla.

            • March 14th 2011 @ 1:24pm
              ballboy said | March 14th 2011 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

              I wasn’t even there

        • March 14th 2011 @ 12:34pm
          ooaahh said | March 14th 2011 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

          Is this confirmed? Are we sure he couldn’t have gone to the TMO?

          • Roar Guru

            March 14th 2011 @ 12:46pm
            Poth Ale said | March 14th 2011 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

            Yes. The Laws don’t allow for it.

            However, using your eyesight and memory to recall a ballboy handing the ball to the hooker directly in front of you is not prevented by any current Law.

            • March 14th 2011 @ 7:07pm
              sheek said | March 14th 2011 @ 7:07pm | ! Report

              According to wayne Smith in The Australian, Kaplan could have got around this by asking TMO Roger Warren if there was any reason he shouldn’t award the try.

              If Warren was paying attention, he could have gone back to the throw in & told Kaplan, “Yes, a different ball was used”.

              So Kaplan could have refused the try this way.

              • March 14th 2011 @ 7:24pm
                Jerry said | March 14th 2011 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

                Wayne Smith is wrong. Despite the open sounding wording of the question, the TMO is still limited to ruling on matters set out in Law 6.A.6 (b)

                “The official may be consulted if the referee is unsure when making a decision in in-goal with regard to the scoring of a try or a touch down when foul play in in-goal may have been involved.

                The official may be consulted in relation to the success or otherwise of kicks at goal.

                The official may be consulted if the referee or assistant referees are unsure if a player was or was not in touch when attempting to ground the ball to score a try.

                The official may be consulted if the referee or assistant referees are unsure when making a decision relating to touch-in-goal and the ball being made dead if a score may have occurred.”

              • Roar Guru

                March 17th 2011 @ 12:43am
                abnutta said | March 17th 2011 @ 12:43am | ! Report

                Who says he can’t go to the TMO???

                It’s happened before in a high profile match – South Africa vs New Zealand in Cape Town. 2008 Tri Nations

                Springbok wing Bryan Habana claims to have scored a try but Assistant Referee Wayne Barnes (ENG) has his flag up and insists that Habana stepped into touch some 20 metres back.

                After consultation with his Assistant Referee, the Match Referee Matthew Goddard (AUS) refers to the TMO and asks the following… “Could you please check to see if the green number 11 stepped into touch in the lead-up to the act of scoring a try” or words to that effect.

                20 metres away from the “in-goal”. Assistant insists no try. Referee says let’s check to make sure and goes upstairs. TMO confirms Barnes’ decision. No try.

                Why couldn’t Kaplan have done the same? All Blacks won 19-0 btw.

              • March 17th 2011 @ 7:45am
                Jerry said | March 17th 2011 @ 7:45am | ! Report

                Cause Goddard would have been hauled over the coals by the refs assessor for that blunder.

        • March 15th 2011 @ 9:32am
          jim O'Neill said | March 15th 2011 @ 9:32am | ! Report

          Jerry you are very wrong. A quick lineout can only take place from where the ball crossed the line not from where it was kicked which is the first issue Kaplan should have been aware of if he knew laws of Rugby. Kaplan is a poor soul and has always been. The IRB should kick him out of rugby.

          It has no place for the likes of him.

      • March 14th 2011 @ 1:50pm
        mitzter said | March 14th 2011 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

        The problem to me is the quick throw in – to me they have the purpose of a kick down field which hasn’t been chased to play on quickly, i hate them being allowed when there are players from both teams around where the ball went out as it all comes down to things like same ball etc. – stupid.
        You also having farcial things like a player being tackled out and the other grabbing the ball for the quick throw in (and now in the laws they get penalised if they don’t give them the ball?!?) These incidences are not what the quick throw in was for.
        There is nothing wrong with the lineout – don’t destroy it!

      • June 19th 2011 @ 6:08am
        FRITS said | June 19th 2011 @ 6:08am | ! Report

        kaplan does not like the Bulls and over the years he has proved it he should be even aloud to blow school games

    • March 14th 2011 @ 7:37am
      SA said | March 14th 2011 @ 7:37am | ! Report

      Ironic that South Africa producers the most and best referees in the world. Andre Watson and Jonathan Kaplan being 2 of them.

      • March 14th 2011 @ 8:41am
        Willy said | March 14th 2011 @ 8:41am | ! Report

        That is gold.

        I love satire!

        Thanks for the Monday morning giggle, SA!

      • March 14th 2011 @ 12:38pm
        Chris said | March 14th 2011 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

        Andre Watson (along with Jonathan Kaplan and Mark Lawrence) are easily the worst referees I have EVER seen. The only non South African referee coming even close is Wayne Barnes.

        South African referees (and their obsession with obscure rules as opposed to running rugby) are the single reason I now watch NRL. Rugby Union refeereed well is the greatest sport in the world, Rugby Union refeereed by a South African is the worst sport in the world.

      • Roar Guru

        March 14th 2011 @ 2:50pm
        PeterK said | March 14th 2011 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

        The quality fo refs in the SH has dramatically dropped.

        Australia has 2 good refs Dickinson and Steve Walsh who is really a NZ ref but he doesnt play PC politics so doesnt get picked.

        NZ has 1 good ref Bryce Lawrence and he is marginal.

        SA has the best SH ref Mark Lawrence but he the only good one.

        We used to have a lot of good refs.

        The NH refs in general are better.

        Kaplan is biased and arrogant. It is unbelievable he is not accountable for his very many poor performances. He has a record of giving match deciding penalties on fulltime which are iffy, at best even if technically correct then they have not been blown for the whole game and he pulls it out at fulltime. He loves to be the centre of attention.

        • March 14th 2011 @ 2:55pm
          Jerry said | March 14th 2011 @ 2:55pm | ! Report

          “he doesnt play PC politics so doesnt get picked.”

          Alternatively, he has a history of abusing players/team officials and refused to acknowledge a serious drink problem until he got fired.

          Craig Joubert is another good SA ref.

          • Roar Guru

            March 14th 2011 @ 3:09pm
            PeterK said | March 14th 2011 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

            agree I forgot about Craig Joubert.

            Yes Steve had / has a drinking problem but he has rehabilitated. This is the excuse for not picking him.. He is an excellent referee but has the temerity to say his piece and powers that be dont like that.

            I am talking about him now he was re accredited and is available and is based in australia.

          • August 14th 2011 @ 5:59pm
            Vincent said | August 14th 2011 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

            Craig Joubert a good ref? hahahaha. That is funny. Craig Joubert is by far the worst ref EVER. Kaplan is not a bad ref. His assistance ref is the one that was wrong here. And no refs get all the calls right all the time. There has been many games the springbox, stormers, etc have lost just due to bad referring. eg. 2010 Super Rugby final by craig joubert. Stormers were penelised constantly for no reason and bulls left to do what they wanted. Just just be a man and take the loss. That is how things go in rugby. 1 mistake cost you the game. Grow up and deal with it, instead of calling for his head for 1 mistake that was not his.

            And it is the british / welsh refs that are among the worst in the world. Other than Craig Joubert who is consistently bad game in and game out.

        • March 14th 2011 @ 9:57pm
          Ben S said | March 14th 2011 @ 9:57pm | ! Report

          Stuart Dickinson is a farce, an imposter with an attitude.

          Steve Walsh has improved since his resurrection.

          • March 15th 2011 @ 1:10am
            Colin N said | March 15th 2011 @ 1:10am | ! Report

            I’ve always like Steve Walsh as a referee. He’s had the odd shocker, but generally he’s pretty good.

            • March 15th 2011 @ 6:08am
              Ben S said | March 15th 2011 @ 6:08am | ! Report

              “He who controls himself controls the game.”

              • March 15th 2011 @ 9:28am
                leftarc said | March 15th 2011 @ 9:28am | ! Report

                Not sure Hoiles would endorse that.

        • March 16th 2011 @ 5:20pm
          Ghecko said | March 16th 2011 @ 5:20pm | ! Report

          I find this so amusing as a neutral spectator Aussies think their refs are the best The Yarpies thinks their refs the best and the kiwis we dont care. This is all so funny. Anyway what is Ireland bleating about if you think back in 2004 when Honiss told the yarpie captain to go talk to his players then allowed a try. So all in all Refs make mistakes we all believe they are biased that will never change. Personally i think it is easier to blame the ref than to blame the shocking performance of your team

          • March 16th 2011 @ 6:43pm
            Craig said | March 16th 2011 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

            What’s a “yarpie”?

            • March 16th 2011 @ 9:26pm
              Dylan said | March 16th 2011 @ 9:26pm | ! Report

              He is obviously calling South Africans that, never heard that term reffered to us like that.

          • March 21st 2011 @ 9:50am
            Bryan M said | March 21st 2011 @ 9:50am | ! Report

            I believe its Jaapie? Denoting simple country type people due to Jaap being a common name in South Africa?

        • June 19th 2011 @ 6:09am
          FRITS said | June 19th 2011 @ 6:09am | ! Report

          you right

    • March 14th 2011 @ 7:47am
      Lee said | March 14th 2011 @ 7:47am | ! Report

      As stated above, 1) Kaplan couldn’t have asked the TMO about the ball as that is not what the IRB have allowed as far as TMO advice, 2) It is the Touchies role to ensure the correct ball is used, and If Kaplan asked the question and was given the wrong answer, then how is it his fault?

      I fail to see what else he could have done in this instance?

      As far as refs go, look at the records of SA teams with Dickenson. I don’t think and won’t suggest this is a bias by nationality, it probably has more to do with different emphasis in different countries on different things. Maybe, there needs to be one reffing academy where the SANZAR refs/IRB refs are all taught from the same hymn sheet.

    • March 14th 2011 @ 8:40am
      Willy said | March 14th 2011 @ 8:40am | ! Report

      As a Waratahs fan I would be more than happy to see Kaplan benched indefinitely.

      I don’t know whether a Tahs fan ran over his dog or something, but he doesn’t like us. Not one bit.

    • March 14th 2011 @ 9:13am
      Happy Hooker said | March 14th 2011 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      OK, so no-one likes Kaplan. We get that. But he did exactly what he should have done – asked the Assistant Referee whether the correct ball was used. Not his fault he was given an incorrect answer. Allan didn’t say he wasn’t sure – he said “yes”.

      C’mon David, we subscribe to The Roar to get away from that sloppy, tabloid style “journalism”. Lift your game!

    • March 14th 2011 @ 9:45am
      Blinky Bill of Bellingen said | March 14th 2011 @ 9:45am | ! Report

      Is Paddy O’Brien still in charge of the Refs? If so he must be pulling his hair out.

      Okay a poor joke at PO’s expense. However my point is that to me Rugby suffers way too much from the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. It’s all well and good having top coaches, fitness people, nuitrionalists, medical staff etc to get the absolute most out of the players but if the decision makers on match day (ref, assistants & TMO) keep on failing to do their part at crucial times then what can be done?

    , , ,