Coach’s swearing at match officials likely to go unpunished

2008-03-16 00:00

Sharks coach Dick Muir can celebrate the successful completion of phase one of the Super 14 campaign, following the 16-8 victory over the Lions at Ellis Park — and also the likelihood that his outburst at the match officials will go unpunished.

Muir accused the timekeepers of being "f*****g cheats" after barging through the press sitting area to confront them.

The coach was furious that hooker Bismarck du Plessis, who had come off in the 19th minute to have a head cut treated, was not allowed back on to the field.

The timekeeper’s ruling was that he spent more than his allowed 15 minutes in the blood bin. The stadium clock showed the match was in its 30th minute when Du Plessis emerged from the tunnel and waited on the sideline for a stop in play. The misunderstanding perhaps came because the clock for a blood replacement keeps running through any stoppages in play and the timekeepers said Du Plessis had been off for 18 minutes and 22 seconds. They could be heard communicating to their colleagues on the side of the field that Du Plessis had two minutes, then one minute remaining and, finally, that he was out of time.

The timekeepers told The Witness they are reluctant to lay a formal complaint against Muir, who did himself no favours by sending manager Trevor Barnes to apologise after the game.

"We knew the amount of time that had elapsed, so we rushed Bismarck out. We still had time according to the touch judges and the fourth official," Muir said.

"It was pedantic, and some people obviously get a kick out of doing this sort of thing away from home."

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