The Rugby World Cup has witnessed numerous memorable moments throughout its history, but controversies have also been an inevitable part of the tournament.
We delve deeper in to five of the most controversial moments in the Rugby World Cup so far.
Controversial Penalty Decision Casts Shadow over Scotland's 2015 World Cup Campaign
During the 2015 World Cup, a significant controversy arose when Scottish prop Jon Welch was penalised by South African referee Craig Joubert for accidental offside. However, video replays clearly indicated that the ball had been knocked backwards by Australian Nick Phipps. This disputed decision allowed Bernard Foley to secure a last-minute penalty, resulting in a heart-breaking 35-34 loss for Scotland.
Gavin Hastings, a Scottish rugby legend, condemned the decision as a 'disgrace.' Joubert's quick departure from the field only fuelled further criticism. As a consequence, he was excluded from refereeing in the semi-finals, and World Rugby later acknowledged the gravity of the mistake.
Challenges and Controversies Plague England's Turbulent Tour of New Zealand in 2011
The England rugby team faced numerous challenges during their tour in New Zealand in 2011. A strained relationship between coach Martin Johnson and the media fostered a siege mentality within the team. Unfortunately, England's performance on the field faltered, leading to a disappointing quarter-final exit against France. The team's troubles deepened during the pool stages when several squad members, including Dylan Hartley and Chris Ashton, were caught participating in dwarf tossing at a bar in Queenstown called Altitude.
Matters worsened when captain Mike Tindall, who was married to Zara Phillips (15th in line to the throne), was recorded having an intimate conversation with another woman on closed-circuit television. These incidents sparked intense tabloid scrutiny. To cap off the tour filled with embarrassment, centre Manu Tuilagi exacerbated the situation by jumping off an Auckland ferry in his underwear, citing immaturity as his justification.
Paddy Power's Provocative Stunt Stirs Controversy at the 2007 Rugby World Cup