World Rugby reportedly deems Cheslin Kolbe’s block illegal

Reports say five officiating errors have been identified in the quarter-final match between South Africa and the hosts, France.

World Rugby has reportedly identified Springbok wing Cheslin Kolbe’s block of France full-back Thomas Ramos’ conversion as one of five major errors made by referee Ben O’Keeffe in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final.

Kolbe produced an incredible run from his own tryline to reach Ramos in time to prevent his attempted conversion in the first half of the clash between the tournament hosts and the defending champions in Paris last Sunday.

The Springboks would go on to win 29-28, making the two points saved by Kolbe crucial to South Africa’s victory.

Since the match, there has been plenty of debate over whether Kolbe started his run towards Ramos before the French kicker began his run-up to the ball.

However, according to a report by respected French publication Midi Olympique, a World Rugby analysis of referee O’Keeffe’s performance has shown that Kolbe left the tryline too early, and the conversion should have been re-taken.

The Kolbe charge-down is one of five reported incorrect major decisions made by O’Keeffe during the match, three of them against France and two of them against the Boks.

@rugbyworldcup A match winning moment from Cheslin Kolbe 🖐️ 🤚 #rugby #RWC2023 #cheslinkolbe ♬ Murder (Slowed) – Bgnzinho

These include a dangerous clean-out by Pieter-Steph du Toit in the 17th minute – for which World Rugby say the Bok flanker should have been yellow carded – and Kwagga Smith’s halfway-line turnover in the second half, which Handre Pollard converted for South Africa’s winning points.

However, World Rugby also reportedly ruled that France wing Damian Penaud should have been yellow carded for a dangerous tackle on Eben Etzebeth in the ninth minute, and Cameron Woki should have been penalised for offsides, when the French lock prevented Faf de Klerk from passing to Handre Pollard for a potential drop-goal in France’s 22.

O’Keeffe will be in charge of the semi-final between the Springboks and England in Paris tomorrow night.

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