There has been a lot of controversy following the Bulls defeat last night to the Blues especially the incident that followed after the final try was scored by Björn Basson.
In the final play of the match the Bulls were trailing by 16-29 with time up on the clock. The Bulls built through some phases which ended up in Björn Basson diving in at the corner to score a try. The try was awarded but the controversy and confusion came with the tackler, Rene Ranger, receiving a yellow card for his tackle on the Bulls flyer as he scored the try.
Many, including Bulls captain Pierre Spies, believed that referee Walsh should have awarded the Bulls a penalty on the halfway line following the score which could have provided them with an unlikely opportunity to win the game if they manage to score another converted try from 50 meters out.
The fact that Ranger transgressed in the eyes of Walsh (issuing a yellow and white card) is not in question – as it was also confirmed by SANZAR that Ranger has been cited by the match commissioner for a dangerous tackle on Basson.
But it is this very fact that most people overlook when asking why a penalty was not awarded.
A referee may award a penalty to the side which scored a try on the half-way line if he or his assistants picked up that an act of foul play occurred in the in-goal area AFTER a try has been scored. This would typically be in an instance where a player would dive onto the try-scorer after he grounded the ball, but the Ranger incident occurred ‘while the try was being scored’.
Referee Walsh penalized him for a dangerous ‘tackle’ which was also the reason highlighted by SANZAR for which Ranger has been cited (Ranger is alleged to have contravened Law 10.4 (e) Dangerous tackling).
In plain English, Ranger was penalised and cited for an act which occurred while the try was being scored, not for any foul play following a try being scored hence no penalty awarded on the halfway.
The only thing Walsh could have done is award a penalty try which would have given Morne Steyn a much easier conversion.
Of course this incident is up for interpretation as the tackle was deemed ‘late and dangerous’, but I hope that clears it up for you.
RW Note: Our thanks to referee Stu Berry who cleared this up for us a bit. Please note he mentioned that Walsh probably thought the incident happened ‘as the try was scored, not after the try was scored hence no penalty on the halfway line’. Berry did not condone, support or disagree with the decision, he merely provided us with his insight with regards to the laws.
The incident is at the end of this video (or watch shortened version here http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=GkdnQsGwm9w#t=62s):