Former top referee Jonathan Kaplan has come out backing Jerome Garces' decision to red card All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams against the Lions on Saturday night.
In his column in the Daily Telegraph, Kaplan stated that Garces "acted to protect the integrity of the game itself".
"I cannot remember a Test match where the referee has been called upon to make so many huge, game-changing calls and very few will understand the pressure Jerome Garces was under on Saturday," the South African whistle-blower wrote.
"None of those calls were bigger than when he decided to red card Sonny Bill Williams after just 22 minutes. It was a pivotal moment, and one Jerome got absolutely right."
Kaplan explained that world rugby has gone to extreme lengths in recent months to protect the safety of players after a number of head injuries have resulted in long lay-offs, saying "there was no question a red card was the right outcome".
However the former referee was critical of Garces' assistants, who appeared to disagree with the decision to send Williams off.
Kaplan said it appeared to be strange that the match officials were on different wavelengths and didn't show enough support for Garces.
"It was interesting to me that Jerome acted despite not getting much help from his team of assistants. They did not seem supportive of his call, with Television Match Official George Ayoub suggesting he might like another look - a hint he did not agree with the Frenchman's decision.
"Making that call was typical of Jerome's display, and I thought he looked the part and maintained his composure despite the occasion."
While many from the Northern Hemisphere thought the Lions were hard done by, Kaplan believes Garces was "kind to them", saying "he was working with the Lions as much as he could, before Vunipola's clean-out on Barrett left him with no choice but to send the prop to the sin-bin.
"There were those who thought that incident was also deserving of a red card, but while I thought it was borderline I believe a yellow was sufficient punishment."
The decisive moment of the game came in the 76th minute when All Blacks prop Charlie Faumuina was penalised for tacking Lions prop Kyle Sinckler in the air.
Many All Blacks fans were up in arms at the decision which gave the Lions a three-point lead and the victory.
However Kaplan said Garces made the right decision according to the laws of the game, but stressed the referee's hands were tied.
"The All Black prop had no chance of getting out of the way once his opponent had jumped to receive a pass above his head.
"It is a type of situation that does not allow a referee to use his common sense, and I would like to see this spoken about at the highest level in the future.
"A key issue for any official is not just getting the decision right but getting it correct at the right time. The process of deciding when not to blow your whistle is just as important as when you do, and I thought Jerome did excellently.
"That said, there was no doubt as to his biggest decision - and it was one he got absolutely spot on."