Cheetahs simmering over match referees

2011-06-07 00:00

WHILE the Sharks are still savouring a rare moment of triumph in Bloemfontein, the Cheetahs were yesterday simmering over the performance of the match officials following their 23-18 Super Rugby defeat at the weekend.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské told News 24 it was unacceptable that referee Marius Jonker and his assistants, Jonathan Kaplan and Cobus Wessel, missed a number of off-the-ball incidents which ultimately cost his side.

Jonker, a late replacement for Mark Lawrence, did yellow card Sharks scrumhalf Charl McLeod and flank Keegan Daniel for professional fouls in the closing 10 minutes, but the Cheetahs coach said there were a number of other incidents which went unpunished.

“I was unhappy with three or four off-the-ball incidents. Ashley Johnson was blatantly nailed with the shoulder and without arms after passing the ball. He was floored on two or three occasions.

Drotské said television match official Johann Meuwesen should have been more involved. “We were over the goalline a few times and the TMO should have been consulted once or twice. Adriaan Strauss, in particular, feels that he scored and that is the difference between winning and losing.

“Another turning point was when we were on the attack and Stefan Terblanche stood next to the ruck and knocked the ball down. There were four of our players against two defenders and it would have been a definite try, but we were still awarded a scrum. It does not make sense because it was definitely a yellow-card offence,” said Drotské.

The Sharks, he said, had a good chance of reaching the play-offs.

“But I believe we may have won the game had the incidents been spotted. But it’s one of those things and we’re moving on.”

Surprisingly, Drotské made no mention of the most blatant professional foul after 65 minutes and following a 60-metre break by Cheetahs scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius. First J.P. Pietersen, chasing back, and then Jacques Botes made try-saving tackles before Louis Ludik killed the ball at the breakdown under his posts. The Sharks were penalised and received a final warning, but they won the ball back when the Cheetahs ran the penalty and survived.

Drotské did admit the Cheetahs had failed to take their chances in a contest they dominated before two second-half tries by Sharks wings Lwazi Mvovo and Pietersen ended their challenge.

He said the Cheetahs were in control for 65 minutes of the game, but the Sharks were more clinical in taking their chances.

“The breakdown was a problem,” said the Cheetahs coach, “and the Sharks were very physical in that area.”

The Sharks face the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday. Marius Jonker will again handle the game.

This weekend fixtures (home team first, SA times):

Friday

Chiefs v Hurricanes 9.35 am

Brumbies v Rebels 11.40 am

Saturday

Crusaders v Blues 9.35 am

Waratahs v Highlanders 11.40 am

Force v Reds 2.05 pm

Lions v Sharks 4.05 pm

Stormers v Bulls 6.10 pm

Bye: Cheetahs

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