CAPE TOWN – The Springboks have made another video to address some debatable refereeing decisions from last week’s 28-26 defeat to the Wallabies – but this time, there doesn’t seem to be bad blood with World Rugby about it.
SA Rugby’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus is awaiting a date for his misconduct disciplinary hearing with the governing body about his famous 62-minute video following the first Test loss to the British and Irish Lions a few months ago, which was leaked on the internet.
Both Erasmus and SA Rugby have been charged, and it will be interesting to see whether it is the actual comments made on the video or the fact that it got into the public domain that got the former Bok coach into trouble.
But his chief lieutenant, Jacques Nienaber, said during the Bok team announcement press conference for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against Australia in Brisbane (9.05am SA time kickoff) that the management had expressed their concerns to World Rugby about some of the penalties awarded at the scrums in last Sunday’s game.
There were some controversial decisions from English referee Luke Pearce towards the end of the match in particular, where the Boks were not awarded penalties despite gaining scrum dominance, while the Aussies were also not blown up for scrumming in during the last set-piece.
“We’ve got a framework that we work with now, which we probably didn’t know (before) – it’s the same framework they used in the Six Nations, and obviously us not playing any rugby before the Georgia Test match, we weren’t 100 percent (sure). We didn’t know what the process was,” Nienaber said on Wednesday.
“But we make our clips like we normally do, and ours went out on Monday – the day after the match, after our review.
“It went to Joel (Jutge, head of referees) from World Rugby, and they reviewed it and they came back to us. The purpose of that is to get alignment from our side, and obviously if discipline was poor and… Everybody makes mistakes. We make mistakes, referees sometimes get things wrong, you can’t get everything right.
“But let’s say a player conceded three penalties, and then the referee will come back and say that was maybe a 50-50 call that could have gone the other way. Or maybe he wasn’t offsides or he didn’t transgress, or we could reward him there at the breakdown…
“Then obviously that will influence selection. You will look at a player and say you conceded three, but they came back and said two of those weren’t penalties, and that ‘play on’ would have been a better call. That’s what we want from coaches and our team’s point of view.”
Nienaber added that he had discussed the obstruction issue with Pearce as well, after the Wallabies continuously blocked the likes of wings Makazole Mapimpi and Sbu Nkosi when they chased up-and-unders.
Another Englishman, Matthew Carley, has been appointed for Saturday’s clash, and Nienaber said that he was hoping to discuss certain issues with the match officials this week.
“When we address stuff with the referees, even in the week leading into the Test match, we always try and figure out, from a coaching point of view, where the contests of this Test match would be. For us, we thought that (chasing kicks) would be a big contest on both sides,” the Bok defence guru said.
“(Wallaby scrumhalves) Nic White and (Tate McDermott) are good box-kickers as well, so we thought it’s going to be a big contest, and it was – Australia kicked more in this Test match than in the previous five Test matches.
“So, we thought it was a tactic that they might (employ). Obviously they have the skill-set, even with Quade (Cooper) there, to go to that. It’s something we addressed and just wanted to get alignment in terms of how they see it and how they refereed that contest.
“Not all referees are the same in terms of how they interpret the contest and what they would like to see in that contest. It’s something we just aligned again after the Test match. The feedback and work from them has been good, from Joel’s side and the referee’s side. There’s good alignment.
“And we will probably get another opportunity to talk with them, hopefully on Thursday or Friday we will have a meeting again, just to get clarity with our captain and vice-captain, and almost get a relationship going so that when they meet on the pitch, it’s not the first time that they will have a chat about certain things.
“We definitely addressed that, and a couple of other things as well.”