Anorak News | Hapless Kaplan

Hapless Kaplan

by | 28th, February 2005

‘ONE thing that has always distinguished football and rugby has been the attitude to refereeing decisions, both on the field and off it.

‘Oi, Steve! You’re not a Chelsea player yet’

In the former, every little decision is contested and argued over by the players before the managers get their chance to add their criticisms.

In the latter, players have tended to accept the referee’s decision not least because any form of dissent was punished by ten yards of territory being given away.

And managers have usually followed suit, preferring not to dwell on matters over which they have no control.

But that seems to be changing and England coach Andy Robinson was fuming at the performance of South African referee Jonathan Kaplan after yesterday’s 19-13 defeat to the Irish.

“I think Mark Cueto scored a perfectly legal try and I think he should have gone to the video referee on Josh Lewsey when he burrowed over the line,” he said.

“I am still trying to work out the Cueto try. I have looked at both and they both looked tries.”

Robinson’s opinion of the referee is shared by the Telegraph’s Mark Cleary, who says England were deprived of victory by “one of the worst refereeing performances seen on the international stage since another South African caused English blood pressure to rise in the World Cup Final’.

A former international referee apparently commented on Kaplan’s eccentric decision-making: “That was the most incompetent display of refereeing I’ve ever seen at this level.”

The Irish, however, have their own justifiable complaint about the manner in which Ronan O’Gara was taken out for the England try, leaving the way open for Martin Corry to storm through.

Incompetent Kaplan certainly was – the question is to what degree his incompetence favoured the home side.

Certainly, the Irish fans had no doubts.

“To be sure, there’ll be a couple of pints for the ref in O’Donohue’s,” one stalwart of the west stand is quoted as saying in the Independent.

“He’ll do better than that,” answered another. “They’ll give him the Honeymoon Suite in the Berkeley Court Hotel.”

While England were suffering their fourth defeat in a row, Chelsea managed to avoid their third.

The Blues fell behind in the first minute of their Carling Cup final against Liverpool and, despite having the majority of the play thereafter, had to rely on a Steven Gerrard own goal to secure extra time.

Having done so, there only ever appeared to be one winner, with goals from Didier Drogba and Mateja Kezman earning them a 3-2 victory.

And all this without manager Jose Mourinho who was sent from the field by the police for apparently inciting Liverpool fans after the Gerrard equaliser.

The Portuguese insisted his finger to lips gesture was aimed at the English press – even though they were housed on the other side of the stadium.

“If I made a mistake, I apologise,” he told the Guardian afterwards. “I’m happy I’m not going to jail for that.”

If he had been sent to jail, he could have just rung up Jonathan Kaplan. He was busy getting the Irish out of jail at the time…’

Posted: 28th, February 2005 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink