Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Isaac Ross yellow card against the Springboks

The Isaac Ross yellow card against the Springboks

On Saturday in Durban the Springboks beat New Zealand for the second week in a row as they applied immense pressure on the tourists, resulting in a few moments of indiscipline which they were penalised for by stringent Welsh referee Nigel Owens.

Owens has come under criticism in some circles for the way in which he reffed the match, and most notably for a few questionable decisions.

Some have asked if they can take a look at the Isaac Ross incident again, which many feel was totally incorrect by Owens, costing the All Blacks as they lost their chief lineout option and decision maker for an important period in the match.

After the match, Isaac Ross was still unsure of what happened, as he felt he did nothing wrong. Owens though, felt it was cynical and yellow carded him.

"I thought the ball was out and I asked, but I got no reaction so I had a little bit of a brain snap. I thought it was out, but you can't take back the past," Ross said.

"I made a call and obviously it was the wrong one. I let the team down."

This clip has comments from Tony Johnson, former All Black Ian Jones, and former Springbok coach Ian McIntosh.


Time: 01:46

Posted at 9:09 pm | 36 comments

Viewing 36 comments

fantana August 05, 2009 10:01 pm

thought a yellow was a bit harsh in fairness

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Anonymous August 05, 2009 10:15 pm

The ball was out.
Poor call by the ref

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Anonymous August 05, 2009 10:29 pm

Terrible reffing throughout the match. 3 yellow cards and 2 of them were complete bollocks.

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Chris G August 05, 2009 10:31 pm

From his perspective it would have looked in. Look at the camera angle from behind - it looks in. The ref's only human, what do you want from him? But yeah, a wrong call.

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Anonymous August 05, 2009 10:36 pm

What we want from an international ref is consistency, good judgement and, above all, good reffing which seems to be impossible to find at the minute.

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Lennox August 05, 2009 10:44 pm

You've got a South African and a New Zealander agreeing that it was a harsh yellow and Owens was too quick with the cards.
Bad reffing in this game, I hope Owens isn't involved in the 3-nations in future.

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Brennie August 05, 2009 10:47 pm

Ross should've picked up the ball ...looked halfhearted the way he toed it, like he wasn't too sure himself

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Anonymous August 05, 2009 10:56 pm

Yeh, I guess it was poor call, but any all black could have passed that "ruck" (still a ruck?) and get the ball easily, I mean, it was only one guy from SA and two or three from NZ

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Anonymous August 05, 2009 11:07 pm

Neutral view:

The ball was clearly out. However, he did not come from behing the back feet...he was in an offside position.

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Doyler August 05, 2009 11:13 pm

There's generally nothing wrong with Owens, actually he's very vocal when a player in Ross position asks if the ball is in or out. He would have made this clear to the teams before the game, I would imagine that is why he punished it severely with a yellow.
I wish the refereeing during the Lions tour was carried out with as much conviction as Owens refs with.

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InsideShoulder August 05, 2009 11:28 pm

How can you say its definitely out when we dont get a camera angle that gives us a side on view.

That call could've gone either way and the bottom line is that you have to respect the ref's decision.

Brennie you're absolutely right about Ross looking half hearted. The indecision in his actions makes it look like he knows he is doing something wrong. If he had dived on the ball with some conviction he might have got away with just a penalty.

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Bill August 06, 2009 1:14 am

Ref got it wrong. It wasn't just this incident, he was always inclined to see cynical penalties, when half the time he should have just called play on.
His cards were dubious and overzealous.
He kept slowing down the game, which was doing quite well without his pedantic over eager officiating.
The IRB needs to send a better ref next time.

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Anonymous August 06, 2009 3:03 am

I remember getting very frustrated as a bok supporter when Ross kicked that ball. I don't think it was out. Here's why 1) Refs usually yell "balls out" in those situations 2) Du Plessis could've easily picked it up if he thought it was out and he didn't 3) very sketchy little kick of the ball makes you think Ross also didn't think it was out.

This in combination with the momentum the boks had at that point warranted a yellow card.

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pumas! August 06, 2009 6:06 am

a neutral:
ref got it wrong, not only was the ball out and ross onside but Bismark touched the ball with his hands making it out

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Dutchtulip August 06, 2009 6:17 am

Anonymous, youre right, he was in an offside position before the ball was to be judged "in" or out " ,he was standing next to the ruck and not behind the last feet,so for that the penalty ( and card because of the momentum they had ) was justified.Also someone touching the ball in the back of the ruck doesnt necessarily make it "out" the last few years, you can place the ball to set it up for you scrumhalf and ref's will still consider the ball as "in"......So for me, fair penalty,yellow is always open for discussion,but if its a penalty,then he killed a good chance for SA,therefore id say yellow was fair too...

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Thedailyspew August 06, 2009 6:38 am

the guy was a mile off side I also wondered why it was a yellow until I saw where he came from - there was a ruck and Ross came from the side whether it was out or not is irrelevant he was a mile offside and that is quite correctly a professional foul

Good call ref

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granite August 06, 2009 8:27 am

Dutchtulip: You're right about players touching the ball at the back of a ruck. But they do have to be bound. Du Plessis touched the ball first, then bound to the ruck, which IMHO makes the ball out. Whether the ref sees it that way during the game is another matter... To summarise, Ross was in the right, but the ref's decision has to be respected.

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whatdidyousay August 06, 2009 8:34 am

The interesting issue is whether this was a ruck or whether it was a tackle. It would seem to me that du Plessis was not in contact with an opponent, ergo not a ruck. The collision which had happened before he crouched over the ball had resulted in the players involved losing their footing, ergo not a ruck. Thus it would seem to be a tackle or open play. If it was open play then the Ross would have been entitled to act as he did. I can only assume that Mr. Owens judged that it was a tackle and that Ross entered from the side. Tough call for the ref particularly given his position behind the ruck...

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Anonymous August 06, 2009 9:23 am

if the balls out he doesnt need to come in through the gate

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Anonymous August 06, 2009 9:45 am

It doesn't matter if the ball was out or not. Ross started in an offside position and never retreated onside before running over and kicking the ball out.

Yellow card because it was a cynical piece of play designed to halt the Springbok attack.

Far be it from the Kiwis to let the laws get in the way of a good old whinge...

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david August 06, 2009 9:56 am

Oh please, so typical! Isaac Ross never came from an onside position! He never started out behind the back feet of the last player at the breakdown! He was offside! He was the one who paid the price for repeated All Black infringements at the breakdown. Rodney was very lucky not to have oten a yellow card or picking the ball up from offsides, sopping a poenial Springbok try! Both plays were cynical and deserved yellows. Botha wasn't offsides, an early tackle maybe, but Smith had ouched the bal and therefore was in posession anyway.

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luxi August 06, 2009 10:02 am

what was the ref thinking?? the ball was clearly out (it was about 20-25cm behinfd the ruck)
very poor call by the ref
sahouldnt havent been a yellow card, nor a penalty

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Dan The Man August 06, 2009 10:07 am

Dutchtulip...ur absolutley rite...
i say the clip doesnt do justice to the momentum SA had, its almost like trying to define a word without any context, its virtually impossible...
my conclusion:
yes he was offside,
yes he did make a halfhearted attempt,
and yes he deserved the yellow because of the momentum SA had...

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Hackney Griffin August 06, 2009 10:30 am

There are questions over the refereeing every time the ABs lose. They look set to lose a fair few more in the upcoming weeks, maybe they'll get used to it.

The commentators suggestion that Owens is influenced by the crowd is beyond ignorant. Not only is he perhaps the best ref in the world, as a ref hailing from Wales I am sure he has gotten used to shutting out a loud and partisan crowd.

If he believes that ball is in then the AB has walked round offside, on SA attacking ball and kicked it. That is professional and a yellow.

Was the ball out? As Chris G points out, not from where Owens was standing. I am staggered that people still cannot appreciate the difference between being on the pitch and watching with every available camera angle, replays and slow mo...

Anyone questioing Owens ability as a ref needs to watch a little more rugby.

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sebastian August 06, 2009 10:58 am

sa player had his hand on it and there wasnt a ruck really. just people lying on the floor and someone standing close by and over the ball

rugby union is the toughest game to referee

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Beefy August 06, 2009 11:16 am

There are questionable decisions that can go either way in every game of rugby i have ever seen yet we dont see highlights of all of these on rugbydump each week?

sometimes you get the rub of the green and someimes you dont and yet its only when the Kiwis lose that these 50/50 decisions suddenly become a major issue and an attack on the ref's ability.

what happened to play to the referee's whistle and respect his decisions?

for me its debatable whether the ball was out or not and for people saying that it was 25cm out is frankly retarted! its impossible to judge without a better camera angle.

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Anonymous August 06, 2009 11:48 am

I hate to use this as a reference but what we need is calls from the ref on stuff like this, like they have in league. There's been a consistant issue with refs for a while that they send someone off and most of the playeres and the fans have been mystified as to what happened. For example the Botha yellow card could have been for a cynical early tackle, but for offside? then he goes in knees first on Muliana, now if I remember that's a two week ban....

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stoojay August 06, 2009 12:04 pm

Surely that video wasn't the Sheep-Herding grunts moaning about the ref's decisions? Thought it was only us Northern Hem boys that would do that. Oh wait....they moaned after the RWC07 quarter final v France when the team that was built for winning the tournament and the overwhelming favourites got dumped out. Four more years! :)

Now the '07 team has all left to chase the or euro and those who are left aren't up to the job. Answer?: blame the NH ref!

Get real NZ guys and stop pulling the WOOL over your eyes. Don't look for a scape-goat(or sheep) - the boks RAMed it up EWE. Don't LAMBment over past glories. Good FLOCK beating the Auzzies. That's all the sheep-puns i can think of.

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Bradders August 06, 2009 12:22 pm

The ball was out. He saw that as he made his first movement round the side and when he saw it was out he went for it.
Whether he knew it to be out or not the ref had a good enough angle to see it was out.

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Huh!! the 3rd August 06, 2009 1:41 pm

Both sides had been warned that next infringement would result in yellow. Then Botha, whether offside or early tackle, once penalised was going in the bin. Likewise whether the ball was in/out, Ross offside or not, once the ref, Owens, awarded the pen, Ross had to go to the bin. Simple as, McCaw/ Smit had been instructed to talk to them only 2 minutes brforehand.


My own opinion, although, Owens had a good game overall, one or 2 calls were harsh. Although I was completely against the ELV of awarding frees for continual infringements, a free would've been sufficient here. However in saying all this, NZ did dig their own graves throughout the game and I don't think the end result would've been different. Remember, SA had 2 yellows.

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Anonymous August 06, 2009 8:20 pm

the ball did look out and bismark did touch it before making contact with the ruck. harsh yellow but a penalty for the offside.

one suspects thr SH fans dont like owens for blowing up for the feeding. sorry lads but the rules state it has to go straing it. not straight to the second row. dems the rules.

ill defend owen to the hilt cos he has the greatest accent ever

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Lennox August 06, 2009 10:48 pm

I've been watching and playing rugby since I was ten and I'll happily criticize Owens.
He's pedantic, blows the whistle too much for penalties only he can see and loves giving out cards.
If you can't see that this ball is out, you don't know rugby.
Ross was onside, the ball as out, it should have been play on. It's like the player knew the rules better than the ref.
It was a fast, exciting game, and Owens was a step behind all night.
He kept slowing down the game with dodgy penalties and was overzealous with the cards.
If you guys in the NH like him so much you can keep him.
He can't handle 3-nations rugby though, must be too quick for him.

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bighands August 06, 2009 11:39 pm

Disputable whether ball was out, half would give it, half wouldnt but the player is deffinatly offside.
Owens is a clear ref who goes by his word, players would have been warned about this beforehand I imagine. Good decision

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Anonymous August 07, 2009 1:08 am

Whether it was out or not is really beside the point.

The ball was certainly out when Du Plessis arrived. He touched it, it went backwards and then he bound to the "ruck", such as it was. I say it was open play.

Even if the ref thought it was a ruck and the ball was in, Ross was not being cynical. A send off was not warranted.

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Matt August 07, 2009 9:38 am

my neutral opinion is that Owens was wrong. THis again highlights why the IRB need to bring in some ruling about the ball being out of rucks. We saw balls staying at the back for ages in the 6N and other tournaments.

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