World Rugby statement: Rugby World Cup final

World Rugby have issued a statement in light of a media report in New Zealand alleging that the governing body privately acknowledged that the Aaron Smith try disallowed in last month’s Rugby World Cup final versus the Springboks should have stood.

A report on read: “The All Blacks have another incident to add to their ‘what-if’ file after their agonising 12-11 loss to South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final.

“Stuff understands World Rugby has privately acknowledged to the All Blacks that the ruling out of Aaron Smith’s try in the final was in fact outside the rules, but is refusing to publicly acknowledge that.

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“It was called back when TMO Tom Foley spotted a knock-on at a lineout, and referee Wayne Barnes then disallowed the try. However, the knock-on happened four phases before the Smith try, despite the TMO only having the power to look back two phases for any knock-on in the build-up to a try.”

New Zealand quickly reacted by scoring a try on 58 minutes through Beauden Barrett but with the conversion kick missed, they went on to lose the final by a single point, 11-12.

In response to Tuesday’s media report from New Zealand, the World Rugby statement read: “As confirmed prior to Rugby World Cup 2023, World Rugby does not publicly comment on match official decisions.

“We stand by our outstanding match official team, who performing one of the hardest jobs in professional sport to an exceptional standard.

“As we have seen in recent months, sadly, criticism of match officials can have wide-ranging consequences, including online hate and threats, and we must be mindful of such a human impact.”

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