Rugby Championship
Poite admits to yellow card error
ESPN Staff
September 15, 2013
Referee Romain Poite shows South Africa's Bismarck du Plessis a yellow card, New Zealand v South Africa, The Rugby Championship, Freedom Cup, Eden Park, Auckland, September 14, 2013
Referee Romain Poite was the subject of widespread criticism for his decision to yellow card South Africa's Bismarck du Plessis in the first half of their clash with New Zealand on Saturday © Getty Images

Under-fire referee Romain Poite has admitted he made an error in yellow carding South Africa's Bismarck du Plessis for his tackle on New Zealand's Dan Carter during their Rugby Championship clash in Auckland on Saturday.

Poite sin-binned Du Plessis in the first half of the All Blacks' 29-15 victory over the Springboks at Eden Park although replays showed little wrong with the tackle and Carter himself had no complaints despite suffering a shoulder injury that is set to rule him out of action for six weeks.

The incident was referred to the Television Match Official George Ayoub but he failed to provide Poite with sufficient evidence to sway his opinion of what he saw as a dangerous tackle and the hooker was subsequently sin-binned.

Du Plessis returned to the action and crossed for a try but his game was brought to an abrupt halt when he was rightly handed a second yellow card - and therefore a red - for an elbow to the throat of New Zealand flanker Liam Messam as he charged into the All Blacks' defence in the opening moments of the second half.

Poite was the subject of widespread criticism following the controversial incident with former South Africa coach Nick Mallett labelling the error a "disgrace" although current Boks coach Heyneke Meyer refused to dwell on the issue post-game. However, the International Rugby Board has responded to the outrage by admitting an error was made by all the officials involved.

A statement on the IRB website said: "Following an initial review, the IRB confirms that it was incorrect for referee Romain Poite to issue a yellow card to Bismarck du Plessis in the 17th minute of The Rugby Championship match between New Zealand and South Africa in Auckland on Saturday.

"Just as players and coaches make mistakes, the decision was an unfortunate case of human error by the match officials, who, having reviewed the match, fully recognise and accept that they made a mistake in the application of law.

"All match official performances are thoroughly reviewed and assessed by the IRB and are considered when appointments are made for future test matches."

Following his dismissal, Du Plessis is set to face a SANZAR disciplinary hearing on Tuesday that is expected to take into account the error made by the officials.

South Africa's Bismarck du Plessis tackles New Zealand's Dan Carter during their clash in Auckland on Saturday © Getty Images
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