Mallett: Cheetahs deserved a penalty try
Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett has
criticised referee Stuart Berry’s officiating of the scrums during the Sharks v
Cheetahs Super Rugby match in Durban at the weekend.
The men from Bloemfontein had the upper hand in the scrums
and in one particular moment in the first half they had the Sharks on the ropes
on their own goal-line.
The Cheetahs were leading 7-3 in the 24th minute when they put
severe pressure on the Sharks scrum.
The Cheetahs looked set to score, but the buckling Sharks
scrum kept collapsing. Sharks tighthead prop Coenie Oosthuizen, in particular,
had a torrid time of things.
Despite protests from Cheetahs captain Francois Venter,
Berry decided a penalty try was not warranted.
The Sharks emerged from that particular passage of play unscathed
and went on to win 26-10.
Mallett, though, felt Berry was wrong not to award a penalty
try to the Sharks and shared his thoughts in the SuperSport studio:
“Referee Stuart Berry saw a different picture to me. Coenie
Oosthuizen was under tremendous pressure at the scrum, going sideways and
backwards. His knees were on the ground, the Cheetahs were going forward and
the only reason they didn't score is because the Sharks collapsed the scrum,”
“There was no reason to go back for another (third) penalty
for the Cheetahs, it should have been a penalty try. Berry said there was no
possibility of a penalty try because the Cheetahs weren’t going forward, but
you cannot go forward if the opposition front row is lying on the ground.”
According to Mallett, the Sharks’ first try by JP Pietersen
was a result of another error from Berry at scrum time, when the official gave
a free kick to the Sharks after he deemed the Cheetahs had pushed early.
"The dominance of the Cheetahs scrum was such that Sharks
scrumhalf Michael Claassens took forever to put the ball in and then Berry
decided to penalise the Cheetahs for pushing early and from there the Sharks
scored. Berry’s handling of the scrums, in my view, was not right. I’m really
confused with Oosthuizen at tighthead. He was clearly scrumming inwards in
front of the referee and yet the Sharks got away without a penalty being given
against them and they got a penalty from which they scored.
According to Mallett, Oosthuizen should not play at
“Coenie is a very good player with ball in hand, a good
tackler and he turns ball over, but he is not a good tighthead prop and we’ve
seen that for the last three seasons. I don’t know why the Sharks didn’t start
Lourens Adriaanse, they may have a rotation policy. But it’s far better to get
a good scrummager for the first half and the next 10 minutes after the break
and get Coenie on for the last 30 minutes when everyone is tired.”