Paddy O’Brien, the IRB’s referee manager, believes officials were wrong to disallow England centre Jamie Noon’s early “try” against the All Blacks.
Noon appeared to score when he crossed the line with his body on top of the ball, only for French referee Joel Jutge to call upon TMO Christophe Berdos.
However, instead of asking if there was a reason why the try shouldn’t be awarded, Jutge asked if his French colleague could see the ball being grounded.
“I’m not going to defend the indefensible,” O’Brien said. “When Joel referred the incident to the TV match official, the wrong questions were asked. I have no doubt the try was legitimate.
“Had I been refereeing the game without the option of going ‘upstairs’, my instinct would unquestionably have been to award the score,” added the New Zealander, formerly considered the best referee in the game.
“We are not going to hang Joel out to dry because he did actually referee well,” O’Brien said. “It’s not a question of giving the attacking side the benefit of the doubt. It’s just a matter of getting these things right.”