The All Blacks have been dethroned as Rugby World Cup champions by South Africa but a Kiwi played an important part in the 32-12 defeat of England in Yokohama on Saturday night.
New Zealander Ben Skeen ruled there was no “clear and obvious” infringement to rule out Springboks wing Makazole Mapimpi’s 68th-minute try, that stretched the Boks’ lead to 23-12 – and effectively ended England’s challenge.
Mapimpi dotted down after some slick handling and a good kick-chase from the Boks but on-field referee Jerome Garces decided to send it upstairs to check for a possible forward pass to Mapimpi from teammate Malcolm Marx.
Mapimpi’s try was the first-ever for South Africa in World Cup final rugby.
Despite TV replays being inconclusive, several fans seemed to agree that the pass was in fact forward and that England were “robbed”.
It’s not the first time at this tournament that a decision from Skeen has had a big impact on a match.
He was heavily criticised for his performance as TMO during the crucial pool match between Australia and Wales with former All Blacks coach John Hart calling it “tedious and ridiculous”.
England, who stunned the All Blacks by 19-7 in last weekend’s semifinal in Tokyo, answered with a period of sustained pressure but were unable to keep the Boks from claiming the 2019 title – to add to their triumphs in 1995 and 2007 – when Cheslin Kolbe dotted down with six minutes to play.