Wellington – The Cheetahs are demanding an explanation from referees boss Lyndon Bray after two controversial decisions in their 40-30 Super 15 loss to the Auckland Blues on Saturday.
The Cheetahs' outrage comes after Bray, the SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby) referees co-ordinator warned officials they had to be accountable and faced being dropped for making blunders.
The Cheetahs' defeat left the South African franchise winless and last in the competition after four away matches.
Coach Naka Drotske believes two rulings by Argentine referee Francisco Pastrana – one in favour of a try to the Blues and the other a yellow card against the Cheetahs – cost his side their best chance of a win on tour.
Both decisions came in quick succession after the score was locked at 13-13 midway through the first half and resulted in a 17-point burst for the Blues who raced to a 30-13 lead while the Cheetahs were a man down.
Flanker Boom Prinsloo was sent to the sin bin when the Cheetahs were desperately defending and Pastrana then went against the advice of the television match official (TMO) when he awarded a try to Blues centre George Moala.
“In my opinion it wasn't a yellow card,” Drotske said.
“Two crucial decisions really cost us. The yellow card, and the double-movement (for Moala's try) where the TMO clearly said it was a double-movement and the referee overruled him.
“If you want to overrule the TMO it's got to be clear and obvious. If that wasn't a double-movement I don't understand the rule. I'll definitely follow the channels and talk to Lyndon Bray.”
Bray's warning for referees to raise their standards came after he upheld complaints by Blues coach John Kirwan about match-changing decisions against his side during their recent two-game tour to South Africa.
“There is a lot of pain to come for referees,” Bray warned.
“The fact is, they're either going to get dropped out of the team, which is a significant consequence obviously, or suffering from the point of view of number and quality of appointments.” – Sapa-AFP