Currie Cup

Mallett calls for fair referee

2014-10-22 14:32
Nick Mallett (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett has called for a strong refereeing performance in Saturday's Currie Cup final between Western Province and the Golden Lions at Newlands.

Mallett, speaking to Ballz Radio, criticised the performance of Pro Legoete in last Saturday's semi-final between WP and the Blue Bulls, which was won 31-23 by the home side.

He said the Lions are slight favourites heading into Saturday's clash and hopes referee Craig Joubert controls the game better than Legoete did last weekend.

"If there's a fair refereeing performance and if the referee isn't influenced by the home crowd and just judges what he sees on the field... I think logically the Lions pack, particularly the Lions scrum, has been the most successful right through the competition. They've got two very strong front rows who can come on and replicate their performances. And what you don't want to see is a referee evening out that contest when the Lions have been so successful, simply because Western Province are playing at home."

Mallett also singled out the Lions' loose forwards (Jaco Kriel, Derick Minnie and Warren Whiteley) as key to their success.

"They have been fantastic on attack, great ball-carriers, great scavengers and fetchers - and you've also got Warren Whiteley's leadership that makes a helluva difference there too.

"(Marnitz) Boshoff is playing with a lot of confidence back at 10 and I thought (Howard) Mnisi was just marvellous this (past) weekend. So listen, logically the Lions are the favourites going into this game, ironically, even though Western Province are playing at home."

Mallett said WP's style of play was not quite the same as what the Lions dished up during the season.

"They've won games more off turning scraps into tries. Teams have kicked badly against them, teams have played and turned over ball, and they have profited from turnovers.

"Their scrum has been fairly rickety throughout this competition and the Bulls put them under pressure this past weekend. Their lineout was particularly poor against the Sharks. I know it was the second (string) team that was out there, but there are question marks around their lineout variations.

"If Western Province are going to win this game, they're going to have to turn over a lot of ball from the Lions' attack and utilising those quick guys in the back three, who can score from anywhere.

"So, it's a really tough one to call, but my point about the referee is an important one. Pro Legoete was indecisive and he made some poor calls. You don't want a Currie Cup final to be decided by a guy who is insecure in himself," continued Mallett.

The last time Western Province and the Lions met in a Currie Cup final was way back in 1986, when the hosts beat the then Transvaal 22-9 at Newlands.

Kick-off for Saturday's clash is scheduled for 17:00.

CLICK HERE to read the full interview with Nick Mallett on Ballz Radio


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