Mitchell hits out at officials

2012-03-11 16:09

Durban - Lions coach John Mitchell has hit out at the officiating after his side lost their Super Rugby clash against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

Mitchell felt his side had made errors at key times during their 32-20 loss, which proved costly.

They were twice within seven points of the hosts in the final quarter, before eventually going down in their second loss of the season.

“We suffered because I think the Sharks dominated field position enough to force three or four errors in our own half,” said the Lions boss.

Mitchell hit out at the officiating from referee Mark Lawrence’s assistants.

“There were some dubious officials tonight, so we’re going to have to report the TMO on the evidence that we have,” he said.

“That’s something we’ll have to deal with upstairs.

"They won’t change the result, but clearly [the officials] need to be accountable at this level.”

Sharks coach John Plumtree was relieved after his side overcame a lack of confidence and a determined Lions outfit to claim their first victory of the Super Rugby season.

Riaan Viljoen, Lwazi Mvovo, Meyer Bosman and Jacques Botes all scored tries to help clinch a bonus-point win.

“I was pleased that we ground it out,” Plumtree said.

“We gave ourselves a few hairy moments by allowing them to score after we had.

“That clinical bit that we need from 25-30 metres out is still not there. We need to sort that out.”

The coastal side had lost their opening two matches of the campaign, going down to the Bulls and Stormers, both away from home.

“We need to get some confidence after a pretty tough couple of weeks," Plumtree said.

"I think at times it showed. We looked a little bit nervous.

“This will help us come to work on Monday with genuine smiles on our faces.”

Plumtree applauded the Lions for showing fighting spirit as the visitors saw a bonus point slip from their grasp.

“I have to give the Lions a lot of credit. I thought at times they tackled outstandingly," he said.

“Every time we ran the ball, there’d be two or three of them in front of us. They had good cover out wide.

“I was impressed with their tenacity, they just didn’t give up.”

The Sharks boss insisted there was little difference in the way they had played in week three compared to the previous two rounds.

“I don’t think we really played any better than we have done in the last couple of weeks, but the difference was that we got the win.

“I think it’s just a continuation of trying to improve on what we’re doing."


  • martin.gee.godfrey - 2012-03-11 16:29

    Mitchell is dead right. Mark Lawrence was poor all round yesterday. He missed critical things on both sides. The whole scrum, ruck and maul laws are so hard to interpret these days and the refs all have a different viewpoint and police them with their own interpretation. Even the TMO's were poor. It is unclear if Mvovo's foot really was in or out of touch and the try the Lions scored that Sykes got his hands under and caused the ball to pop forward is also debateable (both of which, to the supporters, depends on who one supports) but the fact is, the officials have so much to watch and police, that the actual game is suffering. I am all for the game being made safer but some of the new rules, made up by the gin and tonic brigade at the IRB, are becoming ludicrous. I am with Mitchell on this one.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-11 18:07

      Lawrence has HIS OWN WEBSITE... talk about ego:

      John - 2012-03-11 18:46

      lmao troll. Actually went to that site. Optometrist :D

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-03-12 07:03

      Agree, although there was nothing unique to this game about the problem, every game is the same. The rules are grey, makes the game a bit of a farce. I don't think anyone really knows whats going on anymore.

      thilo.klingenberg - 2012-03-12 10:23

      I agree. to me it was quite clear that Mvovu had his foot in touch. The camera from high above clearly showed it yet the TMO never looked at that angle more closely. It was a poor decision! yes, the Sharks where the better team in terms of possession etc but take away the dubious tries and what do you have? The lack of try-scoring ability and penetration of the SA teams is a huge cause for concern at this stage.

      hudds - 2012-03-12 12:00

      for an optomertrist he sure misses a lot on the field. perhaps he needs a check up.. another match of poor officiating! when will it end..

  • Ian - 2012-03-11 16:37

    Shows how much your opinion can be relied on. "The TMO'S were poor"??? There is only ONE TMO.

      martin.gee.godfrey - 2012-03-11 16:50

      Oops, so I made a spelling mistake... let me rephrase then. "Even the TMO (singular) was poor. Happy now

      Nibiru - 2012-03-11 18:10

      @ FerretGee Maybe you should have just inserted decisions after TMO's to satisfy Ian

  • Fred - 2012-03-11 16:51

    And the ridiculous rugby officiating debate continues. Rugby is being held hostage to the Ego's of referees and the IRB. Dumb beyond words. I don't watch it anymore. It's even dumber than political interference in the sport, and that's saying something.

  • Claude - 2012-03-11 16:53

    What ever happened on field can be argued but Michell is dead right - its time all officials were seen to be accountable for incorrect refereeing. What happens now is they are seen to be protected.

      Paddy - 2012-03-11 16:59

      Our own "Bryce" seems more concerned about his appearance - come off it - a ref with colour streaks in his hair? And the man is an optician so should know something about seeing things properly. Or is he just another "I" specialist. I am a Sharks supporter

      Ian - 2012-03-11 18:17

      @paddy And I suppose players with gross tattoos are OK.

  • Anthony Springhall - 2012-03-11 17:09

    Mitchell got sour grapes

      martin.gee.godfrey - 2012-03-11 17:39

      I don't think so. He says he "felt his side had made errors at key times during their 32-20 loss, which proved costly" and “We suffered because I think the Sharks dominated field position enough to force three or four errors in our own half,” that doesn't sound like sour grapes to me. He is dead right about the officials though. Almost every match every week has referreeing controversy. I don't believe that any ref really goes out to take sides when officiating but they do tend to lean one way of another during matches. Lawrence was pretty poor all round this weekend no matter which team you supported!

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-11 18:10

      Pity, the unwritten rule is if you win, there is no need to mention the ref, and if you lose, it's sour grapes. Lawrence has been shocking 3 weeks in a row, but none of his calls have changed a result... Sharks managed to lose the other 2 all on their own and tried hard again yesterday, Lions, fortunately, tried harder.

  • Chris - 2012-03-11 17:24

    Maybe there should be a system in place for Refs to get a "White Card" or even better... a RED :). was a good game to watch and well done to both Teams

  • Ian - 2012-03-11 17:58

    @ FerretGee. Yes. Thanks for clearing that up. However, I still think your opinion of ref's is biased and based on a lack of knowledge.

      martin.gee.godfrey - 2012-03-11 18:28

      Biased how exactly? During testerdays match whilst on Twitter, I read many comments from fans of both teams complaining about stuff Lawrence missed. As for lack of knowledge, that is your opinion. However, I would like to think that I have an above-average understanding of the rules of the game and you will notice that I didn't take sides in my comments here. Sure I want the Sharks to win every game but I also want the refereeing to be as fair as possible without any favour for either side. The best referee is the one who'se name you can't remember after a match. This is not the case in yesterdays Sharks v Lions match.

      martin.gee.godfrey - 2012-03-11 18:50

      ps: None of the "thumbs down" are of my doing!

      Chris - 2012-03-11 21:06


      Ian - 2012-03-12 06:35

      Biased against referees. I watched the replay of both those tries and it is clear that Mvovo's feet never touched the line. The second one seems to show first that the hands were under the ball but when seen from behind the ball is touching the line. So where is there controversy? The commentators have consistently remarked that Lawrence is one of the best communicators in the game, every one of his decisions is explained to the players. If he blows too many penalties, whose fault is that? Who is actually playing the game? Stop blaming refs and start blaming the players, who should know the Laws (not rules). Oh yes, and read Law 8, it may help you.

  • John - 2012-03-11 18:36

    Unfortunately John Mitchell has a history of crying foul... and blaming the ref. Armchair reffing is easy... The Lions were outplayed and lost, simple as that. He needs to see what he can take out of the game, where the Lions fell short and work from there.

      Henry - 2012-03-11 19:02

      Maybe you should go watch the game again and then make stupid comments!

  • Pierre - 2012-03-11 18:54

    Now the Lions want to blame the officials, because they were beaten fair and square!!! Saturday's result just shows that the Lions were assisted to win the Curry Cup last year due to the fact that their union was facing bankrupsy if they couldn't win a tiltle for a change..... Hahahahaaaa

      David - 2012-03-11 19:07

      Just like Sharks supporter. All John Mitchell said that some of the decisions that were made were dubious. How were the Lions assisted to win the Currie Cup. What a sore (Sharks Supporter) loser. This is the start of the Super 15. let's see what happens.

      Jan - 2012-03-12 09:43

      Still angry that the Sharks got F#### in the curry cup final last year? If you're right about what you are saying, I would say that that the Sharks were a bunch of very good actresses last year. HHaaaa haaa haaaa. You sound like all these sour Grape Bulls supporters...... Ha haa haaa!!!

  • Dieter - 2012-03-11 19:01

    Lions and John must realise, this is not the Vodacom Cup standard Currie Cup they won last year .... yes they beat a almost full strenght WP team in the semi's and a half decent Sharks team in the final...but the Boks just came back from the world cup, lions played 2gether the whole year .... Lions still only 5th best team in SA!!!

      frederick.vanzyl - 2012-03-12 07:23

      We had 10 injured players and lost another two on game day, we lost fair and square. Our depth is stunning though, almost our Vodacom cup team, losing 32-20 to the mighty Sharks. We will meet again on Coca-cola Park. We beat the Sharks 42-16 in the final, where their ONLY try came after a knock-on, that was missed by Lawrence.

      Hugh - 2012-03-12 16:15

      Got to love the enthusiasm. We Sharks supporters have never really rated Lawrence, and we also have a number of injuries to top players, however both sides hosting many new young players? I think its great. getting the young guns capped. The Lions played well and I would never put money on a sharks lions game. Beaten too many times by them. Like our nemesis. None the less, you lose, sharks have a bonus point. Next game please.

  • Keith - 2012-03-11 19:54

    Mitch you lost the game and please do not blame the officials for it. the sharks outplayed your guys. It is still early days- you can still bounse back.

  • FeF Francois Gericke - 2012-03-11 23:02

    And they are looking for a lady called Suzie that were serving them breakfast...

  • Martin - 2012-03-11 23:27

    Rugby is dying. Too many rules. Its becoming penalty ping-pong and the team that gets the most penalties (rightfully or not) gets to win. Anyway, who ever knows what's going on in the rucks and scrums? There can be a penalty for any given team at any ruck or scrum, just depends on who the ref feels like penalizing at that given time, depending on whether it's kickable and how much time is left on the clock. What a farce.

      Gungets - 2012-03-12 06:36

      Agreed. Too complex and too open to interpretation.

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-03-12 07:09

      I agree Martin. Every decision seems debateable. And it freaks me out when a simple on is incorrect - the "try or no try" debacle. Very frustrating game to watch these days, I think they're losing the plot. My interest is waning in the game.

  • justin.wimbush1 - 2012-03-11 23:30

    After viewing all the NZ, Aus & 6 Nations games - SA rugby is years behind. It would be my guess that SA teams will hold up the bottom of the Super 15 and Tri-Nations year gain!!

  • Gareth - 2012-03-12 08:50

    Mark Lawrence is was even worse than his officials and missed crutial calls on both sides! More than 15 of them. Start with him before you hunt the officials. Lawrence blew up the sharks more times than not, and finally realised that the Sharks had won the battle already. He was UNFAIR both ways though.

  • Zion - 2012-03-12 10:02

    Good for you Mitchell, The time has finally arrived when officials may be taken to task due to a poor performance. Keep up the good work.

  • Vic - 2012-03-12 11:55

    Mitchell does have a point, but as has been said by many others here, the rules ARE far too complex & there are too many & being changed EVERY year, by all those old farts @ IRB.! They are really the pits & do these things, in order to try & justify their positions & money they get paid, for doing relatively nothing decent, at all.!! I still reckon Mark Lawrence is one of the best Refs in Super what if he has some high-lights in his hair----there are plenty of players, who do something similar &, as mentioned by someone else, those bloody awful disgusting tattoos displayed by SO MANY rugby players (& now also cricketers), is a bit much & shows distinct lack of intelligence, as far as I'm concerned. SA rugby does not seem to be advancing at same pace as the NZ & some Aus teams, which is a concern.! It's NO longer the "Tri-Nations"....wake up, but the Four-Nations, with Argentina now included, for the info of those, who've had their heads up their arses for awhile now. ALL refs have faults & create probs., from time to time, but to say Mark Lawrence is bad & has been in all 3 games so far, is ridiculous----he's very fair, knowledgeable & explains things clearly to the players every time. Mvovo's foot was definitely NOT on or near the touchline when scoring that try. Those of you, who think that it was, need to go & have their eyes tested----perhaps you can start with Mark Lawrence checking them out for you.??!!

      Ian - 2012-03-12 14:12

      Thanks Vic. As the one who mentioned tattoos, it's nice to see someone on this site who knows what they are talking about. You are of course quite right: the Laws are complex, far too complex for most of the 'experts' here. How many of these experts have even visited the IRB site and taken the mock rugby exam? Do they even know how long it takes to become a referee and how many don't even get beyond the first couple of years, because it is too stressful? I said earlier "why not blame the players" but thinking a bit more about it, it is actually the Coaches who are to blame for not instructing players in how not to break the Laws. It is quite obvious that players are coached to sail as close to the wind as possible. If they get caught, whose fault is that? Do you blame the cops if you get caught speeding at 140 km/h when the limit is 120? Same thing. @hudds. Our wonderful President has also been at every level of politics........think about it.

      Hugh - 2012-03-12 16:22

      Ian, I think the Coaches train them to play as close to the rules as not to break them, only just. Its a win some lose some attitude. Going off the feet at the breakdown is not rocket science, but try stop them? Good thing my hair cant get any greyer.

  • hudds - 2012-03-12 12:08

    John Mitchell has been at every level of the game so clearly knows more than any of you idiots..

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