Crusaders claim referee apology for costly Super final ruling

AFP
File photo taken on October 23, 2011 shows referee Craig Joubert during the Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and France at Eden Park Stadium in Auckland
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File photo taken on October 23, 2011 shows referee Craig Joubert during the Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and France at Eden Park Stadium in Auckland (AFP Photo/Gabriel Bouys)

Auckland (AFP) - New Zealand rugby is claiming its second referee apology in a week, with Craig Joubert said to have admitted he was wrong with a ruling that probably cost the Canterbury Crusaders the Super 15 crown.

The NSW Waratahs won a tense final three weeks ago in Sydney 33-32, with the winning points coming from a penalty when flanker Richie McCaw was penalised for entering a ruck from the side with a minute remaining in the match.

Had the kick missed, the Crusaders would have had possession and would have been unlikely to yield their 32-29 lead with time almost up.

McCaw told Radio Sport on Saturday that South African Joubert had since rung Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder and "put his hand up" that it was a wrong call.

The contentious ruling has been widely debated since the final, with former top South African referee Jonathan Kaplan writing on his blog that the final penalty was "incorrect" and "the Crusaders would have reason to feel a little hard done by".

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen revealed on Thursday that another South African referee, Jaco Peyper, had admitted several blunders involving decisions against New Zealand in last weekend's drawn Test against Australia.

But, Hansen added it was no excuse for his team's poor performance in the match.

Both Hansen and Australian coach Ewen McKenzie have sought talks with French referee Romain Poite to clarify issues ahead of their return Test in Auckland on Saturday night.

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