All Blacks victory tainted

2010-07-19 08:16

Chris Rattue, the New Zealand Herald sports writer who made himself very unpopular in South Africa when he refered to Johannesburg during the soccer World Cup as a “hell-hole”, has now come out in defence of the Springboks rugby team following their 17-31 defeat against the All Blacks in Wellington at the weekend.

In his column in the NZ Herald, Rattue pointed out that Sky TV started coverage of the clash by getting referee Alain Rolland’s nationality wrong – putting the French colours alongside the Irishman’s name.

“Sounds French, so must be French – a mistake a few of us have been close to making with Rolland over the years,” he wrote.

“Rolland was French by suspicion, which is the sort of justice he meted out to Danie Rossouw, the Springbok lock, a few minutes later.

“The sinbinning of Rossouw was diabolical, the distorting of a major international sporting contest on scant evidence.

“You’ll see more dangerous pushing and shoving in the pie queue. In fact, the pies themselves are probably more dangerous.

“Rossouw used a hand to flick Richie McCaw, who was sitting on the ground, around the temple and perhaps a little close to the eyes for comfort. What ensued was the letting off of early test-match steam, a bit of push and shove with no damage done.

“McCaw swiped at Rossouw with his forearm. Rossouw responded by shoving a gentle knee in McCaw’s direction.

“Replay of the event shows the knee was not even close to making contact with McCaw’s head or body, only McCaw’s arm.

“The All Blacks were clearly superior, on speed alone, and thoroughly deserved their second-test victory, although the lineout reverted to a shambles and they made a fair few mistakes.

“What can’t be ignored, though, is that the All Blacks were given a significant leg up, scoring 10 points while Rossouw was sitting down.

“Rossouw would have been a big part of the Springboks’ early plans to tie up possession and turn the forward battle into trench warfare. He made their first significant tackle, smashing Owen Franks backwards.

“Moreover, we, the paying public, not to mention the Springboks, deserved an honest contest, and not one altered by a ridiculous yellow card. The All Blacks also deserved to have their victory scored in the fairest of conditions.

“So far in the two Tri-Nations games, we have seen a head butt go unpunished, along with a spear tackle from Jean de Villiers and a shoulder charge from Rene Ranger – actions that can seriously hurt the victims.

“Yet Bakkies Botha has been sent to the sin bin for killing the ball, while the All Blacks were able to do this only under threat and without serious sanction in Wellington. Rossouw received a yellow for a bit of child’s play that endangered no one.

“Rugby is getting this seriously wrong. No other sport dismisses players – and thus alters the contest – with such an off-hand attitude.

“The victory was badly tainted, and needlessly so. We all got robbed,” he wrote.

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