League officials are copping it in the neck, and rightly so, for a comically awful decision that helped Manly beat North Queensland in the NRL playoffs.

Irish rugby referee George Clancy and the relevant touch judge also deserve a serve for failing to send off Springbok replacement prop Dean Greyling for his airborne assault on All Black captain Richie McCaw in Dunedin.

Greyling had the shocker of all shockers on Saturday night, the nadir coming when he hurtled over a ruck to smash McCaw, who was sitting on the ground, in the head with his forearm.

The South Africans have covered themselves in glory since, with their coach Heyneke Meyer offering an apology to McCaw, and captain Jean de Villiers also making it plain that internal action was likely against Greyling, even though de Villiers had yet to see the incident properly when questioned.


The Springboks have set a rare standard here - I certainly can't remember an All Black reaction to match it over the years.

Greyling HAD to be sent off on Saturday night, rather than receiving a yellow card. His attack on McCaw was nothing short of a premeditated assault, committed in the open. If needs be, rugby must have the ability to use a video replay to get a decision like that right.

You would struggle to see a more violent act in the modern game and it was an ugly reminder of when Richard Loe was at his menacing worst.

As for the test itself, what a bore. Bring back Sonny Bill Williams, because he has the attacking skills to make the game interesting. There are so many test matches these days that the standard of entertainment needs to be higher. Dunedin's indoor stadium provided the players with the perfect platform, and they blew it.

The Rugby Championship as a whole is leaving a bit to be desired. It was probably no coincidence that the one and only vital offload in Saturday night's game, from Sam Whitelock, was delivered by a tall player. A major factor in SBW's ability to unlock the watertight modern defences was his height.

The All Blacks were saved by two factors - the truly amazing Richie McCaw and the Springboks' woeful goalkicking.

Some New Zealanders might fling the dirt at South Africa's limited game plan, but it was good enough for them to be the better side.

The game was partially saved by three outstanding tries, but beyond that we had to endure a lot of messy, stop-start trench warfare. Had the Springbok goalkickers been on target, all that turgid grunt might have at least made a bit of sense.

Foran claim laughable

Kiwi half Kieran Foran had to be pulling our leg when he claimed not to have got a touch on the ball for Manly's controversial try against the Cowboys. The only others who didn't think Foran knocked the ball forward were the video officials.

It is inevitable that those officials, Paul Simpkins and Steve Clark, will be demoted after such a blunder but the mystery remains - just what did they see that the rest of us didn't?

Without turning this into a witch-hunt, I'd love the officials to appear on TV, with the relevant video clip, and explain how exactly they came to their decision to allow the Manly try.