IRB having the last laugh?

2010-07-25 22:45

JJ Harmse

Brisbane – So what could still have gone wrong on the tour from hell?

Another Irish referee in a Tri-Nations Test?

What about an Irish referee that pulls out the yellow cards even quicker than his compatriots?

That is precisely what the Springboks got at the Suncorp Stadium. And more.

While George Clancy can probably justify his early yellow card against Jaque Fourie with a similar one against Quade Cooper, both were ridiculous.

And how on earth could he allow Wallaby flank David Pocock to play off-side for the entire match and then sin-bin BJ Botha for not rolling away?

The International Rugby Board’s (IRB) refereeing body is clearly having the last laugh after the debacle in which Springbok coach Peter de Villiers questioned whether referees were impartial.

An attack on one referee is considered an attack on all and now the Springboks are coming off second best.

The fact of the matter is that Saturday’s Test was again not a fair and equal one. And the referee has to take the blame for that. It was shocking, to say the least.

Yes, the Springboks and their management should perhaps talk less and do more because there are clearly problem areas in the team.

The players are not tackling well, their finishing is poor and their discipline not up to scratch.

Clancy played a big role in the six penalties that the Aussies slotted, but it was the Boks who lost their own lineout ball just before half-time because of a misunderstanding. This allowed Drew Mitchell in for a try from which the Wallabies led 17-3 at half-time.

There were also encouraging signs. The Bok scrum was again strong, the lineout good and even a rolling maul or two could be launched.

But there were again a number of poor kicks that the Wallabies could use to launch counter-attacks.

Bryan Habana also looks a shadow of the player that had world rugby at his feet and Jaque Fourie only started playing with confidence in the last few minutes.

And how does the coaches’ logic work?

The previous week Danie Rossouw was substituted because he was already on a yellow card, but on Saturday Fourie (also on yellow) was kept on the field and Wynand Olivier taken off.

Rossouw had another big game. His work-rate was incredible and his physical presence at the breakdown immense.

He lost the ball in contact once, but was the best Bok on the field by some distance.

Fourie’s yellow card after scarcely three minutes for a dangerous tackle did not lead to the Boks having to play catch-up rugby this time and Matt Giteau could only give the Wallabies the lead after the centre had returned.

Morné Steyn equalised shortly afterwards, but the Boks’ problems started after that.

Pocock dominated the breakdowns illegally and Bok attacks simply did not yield points.

Meanwhile, Habana was penalised for off-side play, but James O’Connor not. That gave Giteau the chance to make it 6-3.

He added two more penalties before Pocock was finally penalised close to his own goal-line.

The Boks opted for the scrum and were awarded a free kick, but were penalised in ensuing play and this allowed the Wallabies to kick the ball out.

The second half started equally badly. Kankowski was penalised in front of the posts due to another Clancy blunder and when Botha got a yellow card for not rolling away, O’Connor made it 23-3.

Cooper later  received a yellow card and a host of Bok substitutes were sent on, with Juan de Jongh and Dewald Potgieter making an obvious impact.

Fourie found a way through and Gurthrö Steenkamp also scored after a good lineout move. Suddenly a fightback looked possible.

However, Will Genia, who was a threat around the rucks all game, slipped past Flip van der Merwe’s tackle and it was all over.


  • SF - 2010-07-25 23:17

    How can you justify yellow cards and in the same breath call them ridiculous ? You might have missed the 4 week suspension that followed. JJ - you have to start seeing the wood for the trees. You have once again cited the loss as a result of poor reffing - but fail to mention that we have a negative 51 points difference. I can't believe no-one at 24 edits this trash before they publish it.

  • suckalucka - 2010-07-25 23:23

    Haha, joke article...It's funny cos when Heinrich Broussow (the Springbok equivalent of Pocock) has opposing teams in the same disarray as you find yourselves it's all fine and dandy - nothing illegal can be seen through ur green tinted glasses...but now the shoe is on other foot, lord forbid that anyone produce a fetcher as effective as your own...

  • Kiwi - 2010-07-25 23:30

    oh dear, another sad sad excuse for a poor performance. you can't keep blaming the refs and better players in opposing teams. why do these even get opened up for comments. from what i've seen on news 24 so far are purely sick and racist comments directed at NZ and AUS. I'm from NZ and i had alot of respect for STH Africans till I came on this site from a recommendation from a Sth African fella i work with. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves. i thought we were poor losers over here, but you guys take the cake!

  • Wake up JJ Harmse - 2010-07-25 23:45

    This reporter must be one of the biggest Blue Bulls & Danie Rossouw fans?. How dare he say that Rossouw "....lost the ball in contact once, but was the best Bok on the field by some distance''!!!!!!!!. Well JJ, seems like we watched two different tests then, as I saw Rossouw lost the ball THREE (3) times when the Boks were on attack and on the front foot. This is nothing new for Rossouw.....he TRADITIONALLY loses the ball forward A FEW TIMES in EVERY GAME (for the Bulls, Blue Bulls & Springboks) he plays....go watch the games again!. Rossouw is a liability for the Boks...please let him go play overseas now, please!!!. Ryan Kankowski was the best Bok on the field by some distance JJ and you know it!. I'm not a Sharks fan just in case you were wondering....I'm a Cheetah who nailed your blue #$$$#@ to the wall yesterday boet.

  • Cheetah - 2010-07-25 23:51

    ''IRB having the last laugh?'' - yes they will have the last laugh at making the Southern Hemisphere refs' names dick, won't they?. I mean we all in the SH know that the SH's No. 15 referee is still way better than the Northern Hemisphere's ref No. 1. Most important is that those old fart Poms will never let the power swing to the SH anyway. The Boks will let the talking do on the field come RWC 2011 and there is nothing you moegoe refs can do about it.

  • Chris in Oz - 2010-07-26 00:05

    Wynand Olivier was substituted and not Fourie, because Olivier AGAIN did nothing. Or even less. The Wallabies attacked his channel and got through almost every time. There was again no creativity on attack. When De Jongh came on you could see the immense difference and improvement on attack. It is time Div realises Olivier is at best a Currie Cup player and not a Bok.

  • Vivian - 2010-07-26 00:25

    JJ you and the rest of South Africa are starting to sound like a broken record, the ref, the ref,the ref the ref, the ref,the ref the ref, the ref,the ref the ref, the ref,the ref. If the ref was such a factor in matches and hated South Africa so much then how come South Africa won two world cup, tri nations and super 14 trophies. Ho sorry it’s only the current generation of refs who hate us. No boet you were outplayed, out muscled and the simple fact is South African rugby is one-dimensional To many kicks, to many going to ground with the ball instead of off loading on the run But suppose there are none so blind than those who don’t want to see! the ref, the ref,the ref the ref, the ref,the ref the ref, the ref,the ref the ref, the ref,the ref.

  • MyRugby Mate - 2010-07-26 02:26

    Hmmm.. "Pocock dominated the breakdowns illegally"... the same things been said about McCaw in the previous two matches. Are you guys seriously aware of the rule changes? Are you sure? Also the ref's have been consistant about yellow cards when delaing with spear tackles (lifting the legs above the shoulders)... South Africa, read the rules, things have changed and the Bok are not keeping up with the rules, although sadley you are becoming more renowed than the Roineck for whinging.

  • chris - 2010-07-26 04:08

    Good lord, stop whining, before each match team captains and managers meet the officials, during this time any ambiguities in the rules and interpretations of those rules and how the on field official will of rule are discussed. may be no longer ????????? We must also assume that players understand and have read laws of the game , and how to apply the rules to the spirit of the game .

  • Adrian - 2010-07-26 05:06

    Maybe what we should do in future is ask the Ref which player he wouldn't like to see on the field in the first 10 minutes and simply start the game with 14 men ! It is very difficult to play this complex game when you are not sure of how the Laws ( not RULES !!) are going to be applied. When there is an obvious discrepancy in the way the Laws are applied to the two sides it becomes even more difficult. It is a sad affair when the Refs become prominent figures on the field, and sometimes one-sided decisions affect this marvelous game. Too much 'interpretation' is allowed. A law is a 'black and white' affair. If there are 'grey' areas in a Law then the Law is bad and should be reviewed immediately. I have been involved in a business venture with a VERY prominent South African Referee, and I can tell you that criticism is not readily accepted. They will - just like the medical profession - close ranks around one of their own when they feel that their impartiality or qualifications are questioned. Finally, a player running upright into a low tackle is inevitably going to be lifted off the ground and fall ungracefully. This is indisputable. The danger lies in the fact that players can now be encouraged to run upright into a low tackle, get lifted and dropped - yellow card, sin bin, and banning for the tackler is the result. Are we going to allow Rugby to go the way that soccer has where players will deliberately feign injury to gain a penalty or free kick ?

  • Smudge - 2010-07-26 05:28

    JJ Harmse, please buddy, give it rest now with the whinging, you sound so bitter and twisted and you just keep on whinging in every article you write. We have three home games coming, lets look forward to that in a positive mood, and we don't need writers like you spewing your bitter feelings.

  • Ou Baas - 2010-07-26 07:04

    There is too much money being made out of Rugby these days for there not to be some hidden agendas out there. The SARU must address the question of bias strongly in a way that would threaten the pockets of the IRB. Not that it would happen but what would be the result if they gave their backing to Rassies planned venture and withdrew from Tri Nations and Super 15. Do what the IPL has done and it can only hurt the other Rugby playing Nations. That would make the IRB sit up and take notice.

  • Skeet - 2010-07-26 07:10

    This is such a poor article when are we going to stop moaning about the ref its getting old, if you watched the game propley you would see in the first half BJ falling on the wrong side and slowing down the aussie ball, meters out from the Springbok line to which he gave away a penatly and he did exactly the same thing when he got sent off in the second half. The fact of matter is the Boks look flat on attack and the defence is a nightmare and there is no plan B when there game plan isnt working. I dont want to blame the coach but this was coming from the end of the year tour last year already and needed to be fixed then not half way through the Tri-Nation.

  • Alan Ingram - 2010-07-26 07:16

    sounds like a conspiracy against the Springboks if you ask me!

  • ONETIME - 2010-07-26 07:28

    As a fellow rugby referee of 19 years, the refereeing display over the last 3 weeks has got worse and worse. I am disgusted at such inconsistant calls on the field and on can only wonder how a referee can blow in that manner... Was he paid or does he just feel he can do what he wants do and knows that he can get away with it. The sooner referees are allowed to be chastised by coaches and player the better. Disgraced

  • louis - 2010-07-26 07:39

    Australia was the better team on the park...just about,when does the ref answer for his blunders? the Manager has to answer, the Captain has to answer and yet no feedback from the ref?????, looking forward to the day A TEAM WALKS OFF THE PARK WHEN THE REF STUFF'S UP A GAME, I DONT CARE WHICH TEAM WALKS OFF AS LONG AS A STATEMENT IS MADE...THEY ARE MESSING AROUND WITH PEOPLES CAREERS.

  • Craig - 2010-07-26 07:39

    Bugger the ref, I missed the two N.Z. games but if Saturdays performance was anything to go on we were dismal. Habana keeps coming in allowing the overlap, does`nt he trust his inside defenders, we keep kicking the ball away or knocking it on. We dont counter ruck, they do and win - basically our ball retention is kak and we are unable to put together more than one or two phases, kick and hope seems to be our game plan.

  • Anon - 2010-07-26 07:44

    What a surprise!!! Blaming the ref when we lose. Pocock got away with murder, sure, but credit to him. He played the laws to the limit and it worked for him and his team. The Boks were completely outclassed and outsmarted at the breakdown. We were not even in the contest. So don't blame the ref for that. Of course, it also doesn't help that we have no game plan, and wrong slections all over the park. JJ, you are an idiot.

  • camel - 2010-07-26 07:47

    @ JJ: So what connection is there between the heading of your article and the contents thereof? Or is the IRB laughing at the Boks' pathetic performance?

  • Eric - 2010-07-26 07:57

    It would seem that it is not only the ref's that we are up against. Look at the time that Jaque Fourie spent in the Sin bin, (approx 12 miutes) compared to that spent by Quade Cooper, ( just over 9 minutes).Then wehn one looks at the citing results. Jaque gets 4 weeks suspension, and Quade gets 2 weeks, for a tackle that looked the same or worse. Talk about lack of consistency!

  • Doc Robinson - 2010-07-26 08:10

    So many issues have been raised by these first three games of the Tri Nations 2010 it is difficult to know where to start. Anti-South African sentiment, rightly or wrongly, is never far from the surface. Ask me, I live in a British ex-colony and I still get it after 28 years. But worse is a darker prejudice known as 'boerehaat'. It is an inexplicable phenomenon that takes horrible forms against a people whose crime was to stand up to the British empire and fight for their independence and dignity. It has not gone away and despite denial (usually by South Africans anxious to shed all reminders of their past) it is again manifesting itself by the dismissal of the current farm murders as just retribution, and on the rugby field (a known area of Afrikaaner sensitivity). Why? It is very puzzling. Another issue which needs to be addressed is the role of the camera and to what degree it should affect the game being played. Soccer has resisted the sometimes tilted influence of the cameramen during play, why shouldn't rugby? At least, though, rugby is getting people to talk. Some of the blogs are revealing a decidedly more thoughtful South African than the archetypal 'main oke' I remember on North Beach or at parties in Westville.

  • Richard Nixon - 2010-07-26 08:33

    The Kiwi and ozzie fans don't get upset. The complaints are valid. You're just happy because your team is winning. I would be too if I were you but If your honest with yourself you will know that the refs over the last 3 weeks have been pathetic. In the super 14 we had Southern refs who have been reffing the "new rules" SA did well. Now in the Tri Nations they have 3 Northern refs, but why? the Northern refs have'nt got enough exprience with the new rules. They are allowing to much at the break down. The boks are playing this years rules, the refs are not. Pocok was allowed by the ref to cause problems. Players not releasing the tackler and then winning the ball. That is illegal now, the refs are not up to speed. Why did'nt they use the super 14 refs? I'm not saying we would have won the games but we are not allowed to even compete. The refs have killed the contest.

  • Bokbevok - 2010-07-26 08:46

    OK so the refereeing was abysmal, but so was the the Bok performance! I think the irish referess have created a magnificent foil, a smoke screen for a piss poor bok performance. I think PdV truley believes he is doing a good job, by his own adimission, he is a god given talent, he is the best he can ever be, but that just aint good enough! Something is very wrong with this unit. As a side thought and something that bugs me; tradition, value, and pride are difficult to uphold when musicians and netball players starting handing out the green and gold. I think Nick Mallet rode the coat tails of Carel du Plessis efforts, after 12 tests he had erroded all the good in that team. Remember his last test against Australia at loftus, massive, the 1st of 13 straight wins. Much the same, the Jake White 2007 unit is finnished. While the core of the team and leadership on the park remain intact, the magic is gone. Perhaps we need a magician and not a clown!

  • wozza - 2010-07-26 08:47

    We, the boks and their supporters, are exactly where we need to be right now. We will overcome all these problems - form, selections, combinations, poor coaching, biased referees etc. and we will do it in time to win the world cup, AGAIN! the desperation in the All black and Wallaby rugby communities is very evident.

  • SC - 2010-07-26 08:56

    Useless - Bokke

  • Danny - 2010-07-26 08:57

    Ref's have made the tri nations a joke, I'd rather watch the currie cup were my team lost fairly to the cheetahs and rugby was the winner. Please don't give credit for players that cheat when they well know before the game that they will be allowed to do so, i'd be embarrased to pretend it was a fair contest.

  • Di - 2010-07-26 09:06

    Not taking away anything from the dismal performance by the Boks on Sat, but in this age of technology it could be used more like the appeals in cricket and tennis? And the referees should be made to be more accountable for their decisions eg meeting with both teams to analyse decisions made on the field. Surely everybody would learn from that esp the refs in a lot of cases:)

  • just once - 2010-07-26 09:11

    can we just for once have fair refs, no wonder there is so many irish jokes going around..the boks were cheated in all 3 tests, altough they did not play at their best, you have to consider they played with 14 men for 40min in the 3 tests. The Boks will do better in SA because these refs will get booed out of the park if they try to cheat again.

  • Colin - 2010-07-26 09:13

    The sprinboks should only train with 14 men so that they can get used it and will help them to adapt quicker.

  • Rooinek - 2010-07-26 09:25

    Take a look at this clip: . . . and then tell me who was lucky. It's embarrassing enough supporting a team of mindless thugs but this whining and moaning about referees after every test match makes it very hard to be patriotic and support the Springboks. You crybabies need to harden up.

  • Anti - 2010-07-26 09:36

    JJ, I agree with your sentiments. The refs are allowing one team to do certain things, and penalising the other team (read Boks) for doing the exact same things. No mention has been made of O'Connor's lifting tackle on Matfield? Although there was nothing in it really, fact is he lifted Matfield's one leg through the 90 degrees, and that's exactly what Jean De Villiers was banned for 2 weeks for. Consistency please!

  • Birdman - 2010-07-26 09:36

    @Kiwi.. Not all of us mate! The average Saffa knows that our side is not up to scratch and is grasping at straws. I agree with you though. But you must be honest, the Springboks had the nicer jerseys on the day!

  • bob - 2010-07-26 09:41

    Rugby is a mans game so stop whinging . Everything we were penalised for was against the rules - if you dont want to get blown then keep whithin the rules . While I can clearly see that the ref only had one eye ( only saw bok infringemenrts) the facts are clear we were not good enough and If I had been the citing comm I would have given Schalk a lengthy hoiday to think about his new hobby - eye gouging !

  • Phil - 2010-07-26 10:00

    JJ, I'm not sure which game you watched, but Rossouw had another big game? By that do you mean missing a number of tackles? Losing the ball? Strolling along the field? Please... He's another one of the big names that needs an extended "rest period" to make space for guys that actually want to play!

  • @authour - 2010-07-26 10:12

    The question is not "why was Wynand Olivier substituted?" but rather "why was he on the field in the first place?"

  • Henk - 2010-07-26 10:23

    JJ, die refs het dalk n rol gespeel, maar swak spankeuses, laksheid onder senior spelers om te "committ" het ons die wedstryde gekos. As Danie Rossouw die dag die beste speler in n sprongbokspan is dan is dit vanselfsprekend dat die res dan hopeloos is. John Smit is en was n goeie kaptein, maar dit is tyd om te gaan, want sy "ou" liggan het genoeg pyne gevat en terwyl ek hom salueer vir sy uitnemende loopbaan is dit tyd om te gaan en dit sal dit nie kwaad doen om Victor, Habana en self Pierre Spies wakker te maak en n paar ander manne op die proef te stel nie!! Wynand Oliveie is ook nie n toetsspeler nie!

  • Beasty - 2010-07-26 10:44

    The problem lies with the coaches. Two SA sides in the S14 final, but the countries side plays a different style of rugby than the winning brand shown by the 2 best provincial franchises. JJ, first basics then 'other stuff'. Danie rosoouw missed more than 5 first time tackles, was slow at the breakdown and wasn't used that much at the lineouts. If our reporters cannot get it right, how must a coaching staff with half an IQ?

  • James - 2010-07-26 10:45

    reading all this makes me even more happy that I spend my time playing golf and not wasting it on this crap. problem with Rugby. It is not about the players any longer, the ref and the sponsors and the media and the IRB and the World cup. well they players are used and abused, paid well. The ref determain the outcome of the game as he can interprit the law as they like. Glad there are other sports to play and watch. I enjoy the CCup as the players play to enjoy and because they are keen to show what they can do. International rugby, no, this has become another political ball to play and make money. It is the only sport in the world where the rules change every year to try and keep the game relevant. Also tired of looking and listening to the same three capains week in week out taliking the ame crap about why the wine or lose. How much does rugby contribute to community development or Charity? there is no purpose in the game any longer.

  • Met Uysh! - 2010-07-26 10:57

    JJ, not sure if you were being sarcastic and perhaps Danie was the best Bok player on the field amidst all the poor peformances, but did he actually make 1 tackle?? His defense was ppor and it was his poorest game I have ever seen.

  • al - 2010-07-26 11:18

    @Kiwi. Dont tar a whole nation with the same brush because you read 1 forum. If that was the case all Kiwis would be wankers but gladly I know that is not true! If you honestly feel that the refs have been 100% fair; great. Others dont agree and freedom of speech is a great institution.....

  • dawie - 2010-07-26 12:00

    the boks performance is an entirley different issue. the fact remains is that the refs must be consistent. plainly put either an action is an offence or not. it makes no difference how one of the sides are playing or getting beaten. if there is an infringement it must be called but it must be called for both sides as and when it is incurred. from what i saw the refs (last two weks) were woefully inconsistent (even worse the aggravating line judges). it is absolutley neccesary that SARU assimilate all the proof and put it to the IRB without delay. their ref's' decisions have a huge psychology on how the balance of a game is played. there is a case to answer to by the refs board.

  • Chris - 2010-07-26 12:07

    Brian Habana for scrumhalf while Fourie du Preez in on medical leave.

  • Last Laugh - 2010-07-26 12:45

    Come on JJ, what game were you watching? Rossouw was a liability, strolling around the park losing the ball and missing tackles. He obviously did not have the slightest interest in the game other than waiting for the final whistle. What was up with that contest of the up and under, he didn't even look at the ball, time for him to retire. Yes, the referees were far from the best but so were the Boks they were totally outplayed by both the NZ and Aust.. Juan Smit should definitely be in the team for the home games, he is dedicated and played a monster of a game on Saturday. Wynand Olivier is certainly not test match material and has the creativity of a donkey on a race track.

  • iceman1982 - 2010-07-26 13:10

    Ag , here we go again with the ref. JJ, must the ref make the tackles as well? You weren't complaing last year when the boks were winning...

  • Boeta Gamat - 2010-07-26 13:12

    Wynand "Prince Charming" Olivier should NOT play at international level. He should stick to provincial rugby. One could clearly see the impact that Juan de Jong made when he came onto the field. Come on Div, good enough is old enough! Let Juan start...

  • Ernst - 2010-07-26 13:26

    Wake up JJ Harmse - I've checked the facts on, and Harmse is correct and you are wrong. Rossouw had 1 handling error!

  • Dr Flego - 2010-07-26 13:37

    The Irish, the aus, the nz, are still herd about last year and it is clearly visible that the irb have know control over refs and citing bodies. It is Div that get investigated but the rest overlooked. They must clearly say what they whant because if we get punished no problem but do not make rugby a joke and make the poor nz and aus look good the rugby world out there will surely befor the world cup dissapoint the irb and not support unfair play they are not stupid like the controling body of the irb.

  • Dr Flego - 2010-07-26 13:40

    The Irish, the aus, the nz, are still herd about last year and it is clearly visible that the irb have know control over refs and citing bodies. It is Div that get investigated but the rest overlooked. They must clearly say what they whant because if we get punished no problem but do not make rugby a joke and make the poor nz and aus look good the rugby world out there will surely befor the world cup dissapoint the irb and not support unfair play they are not stupid like the controling body of the irb.

  • John Webb - 2010-07-26 13:49

    To be fair JJ, both yellows were recommendations from the touch judge. You may also have picked up from the ref's microphone that most of the officiating was being done from the touchlines. Having said that, his penalty against Kanko for hands on the ball after calling a maul was a shocker! Can I suggest a boycott of Guiness by way of retribution...

  • Eugene - 2010-07-26 14:33

    "The players are not tackling well, their finishing is poor and their discipline not up to scratch." The se areas of play are determined by the attitude of the players. These areas are the first to suffer when the refs cheat. The players are clearly frustrated - they have no idea what to do and what not to do and the confusion stems purely from being yellow carded for rubbish and penalised for things the opposition are getting away with!!!!! Insane - keep the team as it is and watch the retribution. If the refs try and screw us around here they will pay hte price