World Rugby has reportedly identified five major errors referee Ben O’Keeffe made in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final between France and South Africa.
O’Keeffe’s performance has been in the spotlight after the Springboks knocked out the tournament hosts, claiming a 29-28 victory in a thrilling match.
After the game, France captain Antoine Dupont expressed that he was “not sure the refereeing was up to the challenge.”
Five mistakes highlighted
French publication Midi Olympique have now revealed details of O’Keeffe’s performance review, a standard for all officiating teams after any Test match, highlighting five errors that the New Zealander made in the Rugby World Cup play-off.
One of which was Cheslin Kolbe’s charge down of Thomas Ramos’ conversion attempt after Les Bleus’ second try.
According to the review by World Rugby, Kolbe started his charge too early, and Ramos should have been allowed to re-take the conversion.
Clearest angle yet for that Cheslin Kolbe charge down. ❌
Law 8.14 – The opposing team at a conversion: “All players retire to their goal line and do not overstep that line until the kicker moves in any direction to begin their approach to kick.
“When the kicker does this,… pic.twitter.com/x2ez9LA9SZ
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) October 19, 2023
An incident involving Springbok flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit in the 17th minute, which O’Keeffe and his team did not pick up, was also highlighted.
Du Toit had a head-on-head collision with France’s Jonathan Danty after the centre had been penalised for going off his feet at a breakdown in the Springboks 22. The review reportedly stated that Du Toit should have been penalised for the incident and yellow-carded.
The third call against France was late in the second half when Springbok flanker Kwagga Smith won a penalty at the breakdown.
Handre Pollard would convert the penalty in the 68th minute to put South Africa ahead, but the review states that France should have got the penalty instead, with Smith not supporting his body weight when going over to compete for the ball.
World Rugby also reportedly ruled that Les Bleus’ winger Damian Penaud should have been yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle on Eben Etzebeth in the ninth minute.
The incident occurred after South Africa’s first try. From the resulting kick-off, Etzebeth fielded the restart, and Penaud shot up to tackle the Bok lock with his, catching him around his head.
Finally, the report stated that Cameron Woki should have been penalised in the latter stages of the match. World Rugby judged that the French lock was offside and prevented Faf de Klerk from passing to Pollard, who was in position for a potential drop goal.
At the time, O’Keeffe awarded France the scrum, judging that De Klerk purposefully threw the ball into Woki in order to milk a penalty.