World Rugby reportedly 'acknowledged to the All Blacks' Aaron Smith's final try should have been allowed
When a World Cup final is won by a single point, every decision will be pored over.
Just when Kiwis were starting to move on from the gutting nature of a 12-11 World Cup final defeat, a report on that game suggests a brilliant Aaron Smith try should have been allowed to stand.
You may remember the moment from the match itself - hopefully you will as it was the most free-flowing passage of what was a very tense affair. The All Blacks won a scrappy lineout and whipped the ball across their backline over towards the left wing. Richie Mo'unga drew in two men before teeing up Smith for a brilliant score in the corner.
As the ABs were celebrating - and Mo'unga was getting his name tweeted out with a bundle of king, praise and fire emojis - Television Match Official Tom Foley alerted referee Wayne Barnes to a potential knock-on in the build-up to the score.
Barnes went back to look at the footage with his officials and copped the knock-on. He decided to rule out the try but award the Kiwis a penalty as there had been interference from Eben Etzebeth at the lineout itself. To this day, the call is a topic for lively debate. At the time, many felt that if the Springboks had infringed, why not just allow the score from the resulting ABs attack?
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World Rugby reportedly acknowledged Aaron Smith try could have stood
As it stood, four minutes after the Aaron Smith try was ruled out, New Zealand scored through Beauden Barrett.
Richie Mo'unga missed with his touchline conversion attempt then Jordie Barrett was wide left with a late penalty, as South Africa clung on to win 12-11 against the 14-man All Blacks.
Just as the dust was settling, a report in leading Kiwi rugby outlet Stuff suggests World Rugby may feel the All Blacks were hard done by. The report reads:
'World Rugby has privately acknowledged to the All Blacks that the ruling out of Aaron Smith’s try in the final was, in fact, outside the rules, but is refusing to publicly acknowledge that.'
The Stuff report states that the New Zealand Rugby Union are continuing their discussions with World Rugby and are seeking a public statement on the matter to be released.
On Tuesday evening, World Rugby did respond to that report. Their statement reads, 'As confirmed prior to Rugby World Cup 2023, World Rugby does not publicly comment on match official decisions.
'We stand by our outstanding match official team, who performing one of the hardest jobs in professional sport to an exceptional standard.
'As we have seen in recent months, sadly, criticism of match officials can have wide-ranging consequences, including online hate and threats, and we must be mindful of such a human impact.'
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