Lions’ coach questions Sharks’ try, calls for inquiry

2012-03-12 00:00

COACH John Plumtree says his children will now talk to him again, but the Lions’ John Mitchell is calling for a stewards’ inquiry after the Sharks’ scrappy 32-20 win in the third round Super Rugby game at King’s Park on Saturday night.

Plumtree was clearly relieved his Sharks had picked up their first win of the season and said the additional point won with the fourth try on the final whistle was “an unexpected bonus”.

“We just wanted the win to pick up some confidence and reward the home crowd,” he added.

Plumtree said the Sharks had not played any better than they did at Loftus and Newlands, but playing at home had helped in a tight contest.

“We came away with the win and that was all that really counted. Now I can go to work on Monday with a genuine smile and my kids will talk to me again.”

Mitchell said he did not want to make an issue of some of the tight calls in the game — but promptly did.

“I think there was some dubious officiating on the touchline and I will be asking for at least three of the decisions to be reviewed,” he said.

He said he had no problem with referee Mark Lawrence, but blamed inexperienced assistant referees for not picking up infringements.

Mitchell said the Sharks’ third try, fashioned by JP Pietersen and scored by Meyer Bosman, had involved a couple of forward passes, Lwazi Mvovo had clipped the touchline in scoring the second and he believes the first try could have involved a knock-out.

“It’s obviously not going to change the result, but the assistant referees also need to be accountable and better use should be made of technology. This will definitely be in my report,” he said.

Mitchell said the Lions’ cohesion had suffered because of the many changes and “we reacted badly under the pressure of the Sharks’ kicking game”.

“We are integrating a new team and I thought the young players did well and showed real character.”

The Sharks performed effectively as individuals, but they were again heavily penalised at the breakdown, which broke their momentum.

Plumtree was satisfied with the difference returning flank Willem Alberts made, while fellow-flank Marcell Coetzee, the heavily Pietersen at outside centre and hooker Bismarck du Plessis were prominent in the victory.

Pat Lambie was central to the Sharks’ general kicking game, which kept the Lions under pressure for long periods.

However, the infuriating Sharks’ tactic of trying to run long kick-offs back at the opposition from deep in their own quarter resulted in both Lions’ tries after the ball was turned over.

Plumtree said that lock Ross Skeate had picked up a hip injury, but he hoped he would be ready for the Reds at King’s Park on Saturday.

He said the backs generally “were a bit flat”, while the players were “nervous” and lacked confidence after back-to-back defeats.

“There were some hairy moments. We did let them back into the game a couple of times and we need to be more clinical. Our breakdown trends and the many penalties are also causing problems and that is worrying.”

Plumtree also paid tribute to the Lions defence.

“There wasn’t a lot of space out there for us …

“But it was the win that was most important,” he added and the smile was genuine.

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