The Wallabies suffered their first defeat of 2019 against the Springboks Saturday in the Rugby Championship opener with debutant Herschell Jantjies scoring two tries in the 37-17 bonus point victory.
However, there was a turning point in the encounter when replacement Wallaby prop Taniela Tupou was shown a yellow card for a shoulder charge clear out on Springbok flanker Rynhardt Elstadt.
Leading 14-10, the referee and video referee saw it as a shoulder charge from the young prop which has caused some debate with the Australian commentators blowing up on the incident.
The video ref said “That’s clearly a shoulder charge into the chest” but former Wallaby Matt Burke, who was commentating on the game, exclaimed, “no it’s not”.
He then explained it wasn’t a shoulder charge because Tupou used his hands, saying “ You’ve got to use your shoulder when you clean-out”.
Gordon Bray replied: “Somehow Australia has got to survive this catastrophic situation. Australia are looking winded upfront. They will need all their courage and guile to withstand the Springboks scrum.”
Former Wallaby Phil Kearns weighed in and slammed the standard of refereeing in World Rugby.
“I think it was a disgraceful decision,” Kearns said. “I think so many times we put referees that are out of their depth into these games. We’ve all talked privately about the World Cup referees and there are a whole bunch of guys that are totally out of their depth. That is a game changing moment and some of these guys are out of their depth.”
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika also felt the decision was incorrect as he slammed the decision in his post match interview
“I make it as the wrong call,” he said.
“The other guy (Elstadt) should have been sent to the sin-bin for a shoulder charge.
“The fourth official said he focused on the green guy who came in with a shoulder charge and then Taniela came in after that to get him with his arms wrapped at the right height.
“I’m not sure if big contact is a penalty these days but that’s the wrong decision.”