Report: World Rugby acknowledges officiating fault against All Blacks in World Cup final

World Rugby have reportedly admitted that Aaron Smith’s try against the Springboks in the Rugby World Cup should not have been ruled out.

More than three weeks on from the final between the Springboks and All Blacks the debate on decisions still rages on, with reports out of New Zealand now stating that World Rugby has conceded that Smith’s try should have stood.

Aaron Smith’s disallowed try

Blacks all fly half In the 54th minute, Richie Mo’unga broke through the Springboks defense and found his half-back partner, who leaped over the line.

Nevertheless, the try was disallowed after Ardie Savea was flagged for a knock-on at the lineout, which started the attacking set of possession, according to TMO Tom Foley.

Referee Wayne Barnes correctly disallowed the try after seeing the video, but a report by claims that he made a mistake in doing so.

“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,” the report from Stuff states.

The TMO only has permission to examine back two phases for any irregularity in the build-up to a try, therefore even though the knock-on did occur, New Zealand had possession of the ball for four phases before to scoring. This is the explanation behind the wrong ruling.

The TMO can now intervene for “all clear and obvious knock-on or throw forward infringements within two phases leading to a possible try,” according to amended TMO regulations from 2022.

Four minutes later, Beauden Barrett did score for the All Blacks, making history as the first player to score in two World Cup finals.


Barrett’s try brought New Zealand within one point of the Springboks, with Mo’unga missing the subsequent conversion and Jordie Barrett fading a penalty wide with six minutes left, leaving South Africa 12-11 victors.

The report adds that discussions between the All Blacks and World Rugby are still ongoing, with New Zealand Rugby keen to get World Rugby to publicly clarify that the TMO ruling was a breach of the existing protocols.


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