Div gives Rolland the nod
Alain Rolland (Gallo Images)
Pretoria – Wallaby flank David Pocock is commanding respect from Peter de Villiers ... and the Springbok coach is singing a different tune about Irish referee Alain Rolland.
The Bok coach said that he has no problem that the Boks have the Irish referee again for Saturday’s Tri-Nations Test at Loftus Versfeld.
This is in spite of De Villiers being very outspoken about Rolland’s handling of the second Test between the Springboks and All Blacks in Wellington last month.
De Villiers later had to appear in a judicial hearing over his comments, but was found not guilty on a charge of breaching SANZAR’s code of conduct.
“I think Rolland will show on Saturday why he is considered one of the world’s best referees. Players have off days and so do referees. My view is that he had one that day,” said De Villiers.
“My actual frustration was that we had had a discussion with the International Rugby Board (IRB) before the game about how certain aspects would be refereed and that just never happened.”
It also appears as if Irish touch judge Simon McDowell will be spared the rod for his big mistake on Saturday when he missed a forward pass in the build-up to one of the All Blacks’ tries against South Africa.
Sport24 understands that he has already been admonished, but that he won’t be booted as a touch judge like Cobus Wessels was earlier in the competition.
De Villiers said that Pocock holds a big threat to his team. “He is a very good player and we have made plans to ensure that he does not give us problems at the breakdowns.”
The Bok coach said that his selections would not be determined by the defeat to the All Blacks, but rather by the specific challenge posed by the Wallabies and availability of players.
“There were just one or two critical errors against the All Blacks and that does not convince me that major changes are needed. I’m a little worried about Juan Smith, but as far as the rest are concerned it’s a pleasant selection headache,” he said.
Smith injured a stomach muscle and a call will be made on him later in the week.
Francois Louw and Ryan Kankowski are possible replacements, with the latter not having joined up with the squad without good reason. Kankowski also wore the No 7 jersey in Brisbane.