Jean to keep Joubert close
Gavin Rich, SuperSport
Cape Town - Stormers captain Jean de Villiers’ determination to prevent the New Zealand teams from getting away with what they have been getting away with forever and a day could mean he spends 80 minutes in Hamilton on Friday constantly in referee Craig Joubert’s ear.
According to the supersport.com website, the Crusaders’ habit of holding opposing players back at the side of the rucks was highlighted by the television commentators during last Saturday’s game in Christchurch.
As one comments man said, it is part of the game (at least in New Zealand it is) but usually you have to do it in such a way that it is not blatantly obvious.
Perhaps because Richie McCaw wasn’t there to bring the subtle touches to the art of frustrating opposing players around the breakdown, the Crusaders’ intent was blatant when they played the Stormers in Christchurch.
And it was never more so than when Schalk Burger was held back in a ruck and then was the subject of a TMO intervention when he hit out at the arms that were holding him in an attempt to get released.
The AMI Stadium crowd, when spotting that incident on the big screen, reacted as if they felt that Burger should have been penalised or even carded for what could have been interpreted as retaliation, but fortunately the on field referee, when he saw the replay on the big screen, interpreted it differently.
He was clear that holding players back at the ruck was "just not on", and he penalised the Crusaders instead of censuring Burger.
"I will be in referee Craig Joubert’s ear before the game in Hamilton, you can be sure about that, and if it happens like it did in Christchurch I will be on his case during the game as well," said De Villiers.
"I disagree with the suggestion that there might be a little bit of holding on in Hamilton on Friday.
"There will be a heck of a lot of holding on.”
The Chiefs were guilty of getting away with a lot of what De Villiers accused the Crusaders of doing when they beat the Crusaders in Christchurch three weeks ago, so the Stormers captain is right to expect the tactic to be to the fore again in Hamilton.
"And he is also right in saying that the referee must ensure he stamps it out early on.
"In Schalk’s situation a different referee might have penalised him when he tried to get himself loose when he was held back against the Crusaders," said the captain.
"You have two options in situations like that – you leave it to the referee to sort out and if he doesn’t then the players have to sort it out themselves.
"But when the players get left to do something about it there is the potential for everything to get messy so let’s just hope that Craig is alert to the tactic and doesn’t let it become an issue.
"Everyone wants a good product so let’s hope the officials sort it out."