The McLook rugby collection

A personal collection that tells the story of Springbok rugby

France 1995 - Last few minutes Add Video

Controversial victory by SA after a try of Fance was not allowed in the semi-final of the 1995 RWC. One person wrote of this incidents:

THIS IS SO OFFSIDE IT IS RIDICULOUS. THE ENTIRE PACK IS WAY IN FRONT OF DEYLAUD (NO 10, WITH HIS SOCKS DOWN) WHEN HE KICKS. AT 0.27 SECONDS ON THE ABOVE CLIP YOU CAN SEE BENAZZI (6) LEFT OF SCREEN, MILES IN FRONT OF DEYLAUD. 11, 12 AND 13 RUSH UP, BUT DEYLAUD DOESN?T. AT 0.41, LONG AFTER THE WHISTLE HAS BLOWN, YOU CAN SEE DEYLAUD WANDER INTO VIEW FROM WELL BEHIND PLAY. HE HAS NEVER COME ANYWHERE NEAR TO BRINGING NO 6 ONSIDE. IF THEY HAD SCORED AND WON THE GAME IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A TRAVESTY.

I suppose the other players coming from behind the flyhalf could also put the forwards onside. Although in my experience -when playing the game- the referee always ruled on the kicker; the kicker had to put his players on side. Not the flyhalf's fullback coming from behind his own goal posts.

Posted by McLook on February 1, 2014 at 11:14 PM 1789 Views

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7 Comments

Reply McLook
12:00 AM on February 4, 2014 
Watching this match in 1995 I was happy but uncomfortable with the decision. I still feel uneasy watching it but I'll go with it was probably lost forward. Make me feel less guilty, Eish!!
Reply McLook
11:56 PM on February 3, 2014 
Video should be call "The 1995 RWC golden watch moment'.
Reply McLook
11:54 PM on February 3, 2014 
Kimbo says...
HOWEVER,...

have a look at 0:44, where Bevan maybe indicates (with his back to the camera) that the ball was lost forward.

Considering it was a wet ball and that he tripped over players in front of him changes are that he lost it forwards BUT I can't see it on this video. Hard call on the Frenchies. Bevan was closer to the action he might have seen whether Benazzi lost the ball forward. Eish it was lucky break. You need some of those sometimes at the highest level.
Reply Kimbo
10:08 PM on February 3, 2014 
HOWEVER,...

have a look at 0:44, where Bevan maybe indicates (with his back to the camera) that the ball was lost forward.

As the Springboks seemed to lose the ball forward at 0:31 from the high kick, then IF Benazzi did lose the ball forward as well, it was while advantage applied to France, and it was the second infringement. Which is why they are awarded the feed to the 5 meter scrum. Freeze the frames and you can see that NEITHER of the initial defenders in the zone (Small and Chester Williams, I think) are anywhere near getting under Benazzi as he goes to ground.

So IF Bevan did rule that Benazzi lost the ball forward, then he did so because he was right on the spot and saw it. You certainly can't tell from the camera angle, and Bevan's proximity and experience deserve respect. Also, with Benazzi losing his feet unexpectedly with a wet ball in his hands, circumstantial evidence would indicate losing the ball was a real possibility.

Maybe Bevan deserved his gold watch for a quality decision under pressure after all. But it all depends if that gesture at 0.44 is for losing the ball forward. Looking at it again, I'm getting more sure that is what he is ruling/explaining to the disappointed French players.

I think the sideline and end-on cameras that are available today would probably confirm Benazzi lost it forward.

Thanks, McLook. An interesting video.

With apologies to Derek Bevan, whose reputation I long thought was suspect as a result of this incident (not that I consider him or any ref a cheat, but as incompetent). Turns out he was probably right, and deserved his gold watch.

And apologies to Louis Luyt - whose gesture and comments at the final after match function caused him to be poorly treated and understood by Kiwis and others at the time. Or at least Keith Quinn always thought so.
Reply Kimbo
10:07 PM on February 3, 2014 
There is no offside. The person who wrote the critique doesn't know the rules.

If you freeze the tape at 0.28, you can see that the French left wing (11) Philippe Saint-Andre is parallel or maybe even behind him Deylaud when he kicks.

So also are Thierry Lacroix (12) outside him who comes racing in on an angle from the right, as well as Jean-Luc Sadourny (15) who was covering Saint-Andre's position on the left wing, and then comes running in on a diagonal at great pace once he is past the scrum.

The idea was to obviously to get three French chasers coming from three different directions to increase the pressure on the catcher and defenders. As Sadourny was the fastest of the lot, that is why he was placed on the left wing, with the greater distance to cover, instead of Saint-Andre.

Saint-Andre is the first to arrive in the zone as the ball descends - Benazzi is not in sight, and neither are any of the other players ahead of the kick. So Saint-Andre, courtesy of being parallel with or behind Deylaud when he kicked the ball has placed EVERYONE in the French team onside. This is a stock-standard up-and-under in the red-zone. Of course Deylaud is not the one putting his forwards onside - he is bracing himself for the accurate kick, allowing the other backs chasing to put everyone onside, which they do.

My initial thoughts on viewing this was that it gets tricky regarding Benazzi

1. Making it over the line
2. Forcing it before a Springbok hand or being held up.

In modern rugby, with in-goal cameras set up for precisely this reason, EVEN IF you couldn't confirm Benazzi forced the ball, you would most likely have the ref asking the TMO, "Is there any reason I CANNOT allow the try".

However, this was played in 1995, not 2014, so Bevan shouldn't be criticised for that!

Bevan might attract critics for being "out of position", i.e., behind the goal line, rather than in front, which may have been a better position to see if the Springbok tackler got under Benazzi. Bevan was similarly criticised 9 years before, when he disallowed a try to Wallaby Steve Tuynman in the 2nd test of the 1986 Bledisloe Cup series. Replays then indicated Bevan got his ruling on the goal line plunge and pile-up it wrong on that occasion.

However, like the Max Baise decision to disallow a try to Fergus Slattery in the last minute of the 4th test of 1974 (which Baise got RIGHT IMHO), it seems "positioning" is a bit of a red herring. Depending on how the players fall, you are either sighted or not! In front is usually best, but if Baise had been behind Slattery he would have been better sighted - even though Slattery didn't force the ball initially anyway - IMHO.

Also, in those days Bevan had no help from his touch judges policing any offside from the kick Deylaud made. So he had to cover that, then race and get in front of Benazzi as he went over the line. You see Bevan racing into frame trying to do so as Benazzi plunges over. Quite rightly the Springbok defenders plunge to ground in and around the zone, attempting to block Bevan's view and muddy the waters!. So it isn't only All Blacks who resort to gamesmanship! :)

Bevan was the sort of ref who usually only ruled on "what he could see". and that is a fair enough thing to do at a World Cup semi final (shades of Bryce Lawrence in the Springbok vs Wallabies 1/4 final in 2011!). That is precisely what he did with the Steve Tuynman try in 1986.

Where I have a problem is that he DIDN'T, as other refs used to do, go and stick his head quickly into Benazzi's face, and SEE if he got the ball down. Bear in mind he DOESN'T rule the ball was held up. He simply signals the scrum, presumably because he was not in a position to see. Common sense says that courtesy of his momentum and size, Benazzi almost definitely got over the line. Rather than being tackled, he actually appears to trip over the players on the ground in front of him.

So it wasn't initially clear if he grounded it? Well, then, go and have a f*%#ing look, because a ref surely cannot always expect for tries to be arranged so it is easy for you to see them!

Perhaps Bevan adopted a policy that it was pointless checking because a tackler may have wormed under Benazzi after the whistle, or Benazzi may have wrestled out of the tackle and placed the ball on the ground - so the situation if and when Bevan had untangled the bodies was different from when the ball went over the line. In that sense, Bevan may have been consistent with the policies he adopted with the Tuynman score.

That's what I initially thought in 1995, and the first couple of times I watched this again...
Reply McLook
11:42 PM on February 2, 2014 
All Blacks 1996 says...
McLook I do not think offside rules apply in the in goal areas. I can clearly see why Dr Luyt thought it necessary to give the referee a gold watch after the game.

What do you mean? The ball wasn't kicked in the in goal area and also did not land in the in goal area?
Reply All Blacks 1996
4:40 AM on February 2, 2014 
McLook I do not think offside rules apply in the in goal areas. I can clearly see why Dr Luyt thought it necessary to give the referee a gold watch after the game.