Div lashes out at refs
Peter de Villiers (Gallo)
Wellington - Springboks coach Peter de Villiers lashed out at the standard of rugby Test referees Saturday and suggested cheating may be the only way to beat diverse law interpretations.
His outburst came after the Springboks suffered a second successive hiding from the All Blacks, losing the second Tri-Nations Test 31-17 after being beaten the previous week 32-12.
All Blacks coach Graham Henry was full of praise for new law interpretations which allowed the team in possession to win quick ruck ball and play an expansive, running game. As a result they scored eight tries in the two Tests.
But de Villiers was clearly not happy with the way his side had been hammered in the two Tests which were controlled by northern hemisphere referees.
"I'm frustrated at the moment," he said, denying his side had lost the form that won them the Tri-Nations championship last year and saw South African sides dominate the last two Super 14 competitions under southern hemisphere referees.
"We've played now six (Tests this year) and in six games we've had six different types of plays on the ground.
"We've got the same skills as last year when we won the Tri-Nations, we're used to playing with the new interpretations in the Super 14 and now in the six games we've played the law was a bit different on the ground."
De Villiers said he wanted a definitive answer from the powers who control the game on how to prepare for situations when the ball is on the ground.
"Because I don't like to prepare guys to cheat and it seems to me that's the only way going forward if you want to be on top of those kind of things and that's 70 percent of your game."
Springbok captain John Smit was more circumspect when questioned how he felt about All Blacks captain Richie McCaw escaping with repeated warnings but no yellow card for ruck infringements when the Springboks were on attack.
"I suppose if it had been my first year of playing against the All Blacks I'd be surprised, but it's not my first year."
But McCaw, often accused by visiting teams of getting lenient treatment from referees, defended Irish referee Alain Rolland.
"The ref allowed a good contest which was good and when we got under pressure I was guilty of giving away a couple of penalties," he said.
"I guess when you're under pressure like that you've got to try and get the decisions right and I thought the ref was pretty good.
"We knew where we stood. If you held your feet and got over the ball you got rewarded but if you got it wrong he was pretty hard on you. You've got to adjust as you go."
Victorious All Blacks coach Graham Henry, in contrast to de Villiers, also praised the way referees are officiating the new interpretations.
"The new interpretation of the tackle law has changed the game a lot. It allows you to get continuity of possession and to build to score points and the guys did that exceptionally well," he said.
"There were a couple of tries tonight that went through several phases and so it's been a major influence on how the game's being played now."