Wallabies dismiss claims that they con ref into awarding penalties at scrums

2009-08-05 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Wallaby tight forwards Nathan Sharpe and Benn Robinson yesterday dismissed suggestions from Springbok coach Peter de Villiers that the Australians worked on conning the referee into awarding them penalties at scrum time.

South Africa play Australia in a Tri-Nations Test in Cape Town on Saturday and De Villiers said: “Their mindset is that they would rather give you penalties than let you get the upper hand. They target the grey areas, put doubt in the mind of the referee and then let him decide the 50/50 calls. It’s a brilliant tactic if you can get it right,” De Villiers said.

But lock Sharpe, who has played 77 times for the Wallabies, denied the accusation.

“No team in the world would talk about deliberately pulling down the scrum and leaving it up to chance. That would just be too great a risk. We conceded a few penalties at scrum time against the All Blacks in Auckland and that didn’t work out too well for us. Discipline is paramount at the set-piece,” Sharpe told reporters in Cape Town yesterday.

New Zealand had to dig their way out of trouble in the opening Tri-Nations match against Australia in Auckland on July 18, recovering from a 13-3 deficit to win 22-16 with flyhalf Stephen Donald kicking five penalties.

“People can have different opinions about our scrum, but if you look at the past couple of years, it has definitely been better, it has changed up a gear. That’s not just an overnight success, it’s taken a lot of work, and so I don’t know why there’s been a negative perception about our scrumming,” loosehead prop Robinson said.

Sharpe said the Wallabies had spent plenty of time thinking about their defeat in Auckland and were ready to step up. — Reuters.

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