Cape Town - A New Zealand scribe says the Blitzboks
are right to feel aggrieved by the refereeing decisions following this past
weekend’s Wellington Sevens.
South Africa suffered a 24-21 Cup Final loss to New Zealand after
the hosts scored a try after the hooter had sounded.
South Africa led 21-7 deep into the second half, but a
yellow card for Rosco Specman cost the Blitzboks dearly as the Kiwis used their
one-man advantage to get back into the contest.
The Blitzboks were heavily punished at the breakdown area by
referee Matt O'Brien, a New Zealander now based in Australia.
Blitzboks coach Neil Powell felt his team was "unlucky"
not to emerge victorious, adding that they will sit down with the referees and
see how they can improve.
The South Africans also lost 19-14 to New Zealand in the pool phases, with the Kiwis scoring a late try to snatch victory.
However, Mark Reason, a columnist for the Stuff.co.nz
website, feels Powell and his team are right to question the refereeing.
He wrote: “The Boks are outraged by both the refereeing of
their pool match and their final against New Zealand at the Wellington sevens
and while it may go against the grain to feel empathy with a South African
rugby supporter, they have a point.
"The officiating of both those matches made any neutral
observer wonder what the hell was going on.
"Let's start with the final. The penalty count in that match
was 9-1 in favour of New Zealand and they were not the dominant side. Every
marginal call went their way. They got away with forward passes and knock-ons,
while South Africa were penalised, once quite crucially, for knock-ons that
seemed to have propelled the ball back out of the hand.
"New Zealand were allowed to do whatever they liked at the
breakdown. They came in from ludicrously offside positions to clean
out, notably in an important try scored by Rieko Ioane.
"In contrast South Africa were penalised at one breakdown
even when the men in black were not competing for the ball."
CLICK HERE to read the full column on the Stuff.co.nz