South African referee Craig Joubert should not have awarded the last minute penalty that secured Australia victory over Scotland in their World Cup quarter-final, a review committee said on Monday.
The 37-year-old official has been lambasted in Britain for awarding the penalty that Bernard Foley converted to steal Australia’s come from behind 35-34 victory on Sunday.
Joubert ran straight from the field after blowing the final whistle.
The referee penalised Scotland’s Jon Welsh for playing the ball “following a knock-on by a team-mate, resulting in an offside,” read the committee’s statement.
“On review of all available angles, it is clear that after the knock-on, the ball was touched by Australia’s Nick Phipps and Law 11.3(c) states that a player can be put on-side by an opponent who intentionally plays the ball.
“The appropriate decision, therefore, should have been a scrum to Australia for the original knock-on.”
The six member committee – headed by former Scotland flanker John Jeffrey – stressed though that as no foul play had been involved, Joubert could not refer the incident to the third match official and a television replay.
World Rugby referees chief Joel Jutge said: “Despite this experience, Craig has been and remains a world-class referee and an important member of our team.”