Tank Lanning

Keep Koch, bin Poite!

2015-08-13 10:09
Sport24 columnist Tank Lanning (File)

This column is NOT about making excuses for a dreadful Springbok performance in Durban on Saturday. The Boks were arrogantly over confident, made a plethora of unforced errors, were smashed at both the breakdown and the scrum and deserved to lose the game. Fact.

The other fact, though, is that referee Romain Poite had an absolute howler. That the Boks reacted poorly to Poite’s bad calls, which added to their headless chicken performance, is coach Heyneke Meyer’s problem. That Poite remains part of the Rugby World Cup refereeing panel is World Rugby’s problem. A problem they should sort out by kicking him off it!

Yes referees are human, and yes they make mistakes. But hells bells, not that many! In the first Argentinean try he not only blocked Lood de Jager from making a tackle, but then missed the forward pass and arrogantly chose not to ask the TMO to review it. A few minutes later he blew a Bok lineout up early, apologising to Schalk Burger and De Jager, who found himself in oodles of open space without a defender in sight.

His call of 'time on' while there were still four medics on the field which lead to Juan Imhoff’s unprecedented hat-trick of tries against the Boks was a dreadful call, missing the obvious knock-on before Marcelo Bosch’s drop goal was astonishing, while asking the TMO if Cobus Reinach, who took the tap right in front of Poite a second after he had awarded the penalty, had taken said tap from the correct mark, was just plain pathetic.

And that was outside the plethora of dubious scrum penalties he awarded...

His first went against Marcos Ayerza for collapsing the scrum. Bok tighthead Vincent Koch then got introduced to his own arsehole by Ayerza in the second scrum, and from then on in, the Pumas loosehead could do no wrong. Via penalties against Koch in the next four scrums, Poite basically penalised the Bok tighthead off the field. This after Ayerza was the bad guy in scrum one?

No mention of hooker Agustin Creevy, a wily old campaigner, who when binding on his props, pulls up their jerseys so the opposition props have only human skin or a thin under garment to bind on.

Poite also missed Ayerza’s sneaky twist toward Creevy just after the set in that notorious scrum just before half-time. A move that caused Koch to lose his bind on Ayerza’s purple nightie, and thus enable the crafty bugger to milk the resultant penalty that saw Koch’s game curtailed.

It was a disgraceful performance from Poite and it’s no wonder the Bok management were “seeking clarity” on a few of his calls. That’s basically PC speak for “this oke had a shocker”.

In closing, a quick comment on those scrums.

If anything, Jannie du Plessis' value to the Bok side has been well and truly proven. But even he was also on serious roller skates against Ayerza last year (for proof, CLICK HERE).

In fact, I cannot think of a single tighthead who has ever survived 80 minutes against that scrummaging phenomenon without taking at least one beating. So let's not throw Koch out with the bath water. He is a good tighthead who has now paid some serious school fees, and will be better for it.

And on the game in general ... whatever could have gone wrong for the Boks in Durban, did. I cannot see it going that badly for them again. Time for Meyer to make a call though: Old Boys and old “kick and chase” game plan OR New Boys and new “heads up” game plan. Anything in between, and you get what we saw in Durban.

Tank is a former Western Province tighthead prop who now heads up Tankman Media, and sprouts forth on all things rugby on the Front Row Grunt.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    springboks  |  tank lanning  |  rugby

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