World Rugby have reportedly admitted that Aaron Smith’s try against the Springboks in the Rugby World Cup should not have been ruled out.
More than three weeks on from the final between the Springboks and All Blacks the debate on decisions still rages on, with reports out of New Zealand now stating that World Rugby has conceded that Smith’s try should have stood.
Aaron Smith’s disallowed try
However, the try was ruled out when TMO Tom Foley spotted a knock-on by Ardie Savea at the lineout which was the source of the attacking set of possession.
After reviewing the replays, referee Wayne Barnes duly disallowed the try, but according to a report by Stuff.co.nz, he was incorrect in doing so.
“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 report from Stuff states.
The reasoning for the call being incorrect is that while the knock-on did occur, New Zealand had taken the ball through four phases before scoring, but the TMO only has licence to look back two phases for any irregularity in the build-up to a try.
The TMO protocols were updated in 2022; they now say that the TMO can intervene for “all clear and obvious knock-on or throw forward infringements within two phases leading to a possible try.”
Beauden Barrett did cross the whitewash for the All Blacks just four minutes later, becoming the first player in history to score in two World Cup finals.
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) October 30, 2023
Barrett’s try brought New Zealand within one point of the Springboks, with Mo’unga missing the subsequent conversion and Jordie Barrett fading a penalty wide with six minutes left, leaving South Africa 12-11 victors.
The report adds that discussions between the All Blacks and World Rugby are still ongoing, with New Zealand Rugby keen to get World Rugby to publicly clarify that the TMO ruling was a breach of the existing protocols.