Owen Doyle: Peyper penalising Samoa put-in raised an eyebrow
Inconsistent free kick decision to hosts Japan a grave disservice to Ireland and Scotland
Wayne Barnes shows a red card to Italy’s prop Andrea Lovotti during the defeat to South Africa. Italy were fortunate Nicola Quaglio did not also receive the same sanction for the horrific spearing of Duane Vermeulen. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images)
Another busy week, another red card and a potential pool-influencing decision. Let’s have a look.
Ireland’s arch rivals in the Pool, Japan, were gifted a golden opportunity by referee Jaco Peyper to get their bonus point against Samoa. They took it with open arms.
It’s minute 82, Samoa have a scrum on their own five metre line. They’ll win it and kick dead, match over, no?
No. They put-in, crooked of course, but in contrast to everything that preceded it, Peyper reaches into his bag of tricks and gives Japan a free kick. One scrum penalty later to Japan and they score their bonus-point try.
The referees promised us consistency yet I cannot remember a single free kick for that so far in the tournament. Either all do it, or all don’t do it – that’s consistency.
It was at the peak of inconsistency and blatantly unfair to Ireland and Scotland who are also competing for qualification. If that bonus point turns the pool on its head in the final analysis, there will be hell to pay.
Peyper is listed to referee France v England next Saturday, I’ll bet a pound to a penny there won’t be a repeat.
Ireland v Russia was a poor match, but an important bonus point for Ireland. It presented no difficulty to Jerome Garces. It’s really disappointing to see the Irish run of injuries cutting down the selection options for the coaching team.
Also, it was unusual to see Joe Schmidt going to the media with the results of his queries to World Rugby; but understandable in these circumstances to utilise every avenue to get his points across. He’s not alone.
The long awaited England v Argentina lived up to the pre-match war of words. There are but a handful of referees who can handle the sort of intensity of the opening quarter. Nigel Owens needed to bring all his experience to bear, remaining calm and composed when many others were not. He did.
The red card he handed out to Argentina’s Lavanini was correct. There can be no complaints, and there haven’t been, coach Mario Ledesma accepting it.
(Incidentally, it was the second red card for hits on Owen Farrell, USA’s Quill being the first. Makes one think.)
There was a case for a yellow card to England’s Manu Tuilagi which Owens should have given. Otherwise, it’s nice to be able to say that this was a very good performance.
The South Africa v Italy match was marred by a horrid tackle from the two Italian props Andrea Lovotti and Nicola Quaglio – the lift, turnover, and spearing of Springbok Duane Vermeulen, head and neck to ground.
He looked in bad shape initially but it did not result in a similar injury to Brian O’Driscoll in the infamous Lions Test in New Zealand, but that was only a matter of chance. It was checked, and Wayne Barnes red carded Lovotti only.
Why on earth it wasn’t two reds is anybody’s guess.
Conor O’Shea who has never held any truck with foul play, described the tackle – well, assault is a better word – as crass, and would not have been surprised with two red cards.
Barnes’s words were confusing, his explanation seeming to indicate that he’d selected the player he viewed to be the worst offender of the two. So, one escaped scot-free even though it was stated by the ref that Quaglio had started it. Doesn’t add up.
In O’Driscoll’s case it beggared any belief that there was no citing, so nothing was followed up. If the appointed citing commissioner did nothing, why didn’t WR act? Extraordinary.
In this case the citing commissioner has done his job, and both players will face the judiciary. One can see very long suspensions coming down the track.
The match also saw Barnes take centre stage. Literally.
Having been lavish in my praise of him in the Ireland v Scotland game, where he didn’t over-communicate, I’m afraid it’s not possible this time.
He seemed intent on bringing us a masterclass in communication. Some may think he did, fair enough. Many are four square in the opposite camp. His signalling alone would have earned him an appointment to the Royal Navy Signals Division.
His verbals were over the top. “You were offside, my friend,” and congratulating lineout players with “that’s a lovely gap’’ were inappropriate and condescending; to mention just two examples.
Add in some unusual inaccuracies, and it all confirms what we know – that Barnes is far better than what we saw here. I doubt he will bring this approach to the knockout stages where he is bound to feature strongly.
The sharp end of the tournament is fast approaching, and the match officials must continue to strive for accuracy and consistency. I’m sure that they will.
Owen Doyle is a former Test referee and former director of referees with the IRFU. He will be writing for The Irish Times throughout the World Cup.