DURBAN – Last week Rassie Erasmus pretty crudely made the point through the media that he expected short shrift from Jerome Garces, a referee that inexplicably gets appointed for massive Test matches and consistently either misses obvious indiscretions or panics and makes a hash of big calls.
The French referees are notorious for their howlers. Who can forget Garces’ clone, Roman Poite, sending off Bismarck du Plessis for a brutal but totally fair tackle on Dan Carter in what was a knee-jerk reaction; just a few weeks ago Scott Barrett was red carded by Garces against the Wallabies for an iffy tackle that was a yellow at best (or worst).
Garces was the referee when the Boks lost to Japan in Brighton in the 2015 World Cup opener. In that game - while we should never take anything from Japan’s achievement - Garces got swept up by the stirring occasion and allowed the Japanese to live offside.
And on Saturday Garces gave the Boks a reprieve when, despite, looking at big screen replays, he failed to sin bin Makazole Mapimpi for blatantly diving on the ball and smothering it to prevent the All Blacks from scoring.
Kieran Read was prompted to call it a “gutless” call. If the All Blacks had scored seven-points from that one (they got three instead) their lead would have been just about unassailable.