Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett believes the Lions received a few fortuitous calls in their narrow 29-28 victory over the Waratahs at Ellis Park over the weekend.
According to SANZAAR's official website, South African referee Egon Seconds penalised the Sydneysiders 11 times, while the hosts only conceded two penalties the entire match.
Mallett, while speaking in the SuperSport studio afterwards, commented on the matter: "We can't not talk about the officiating in that second half. I think it was very difficult for Michael Hooper (Waratahs captain) to come out and say it has been a tough game between two teams who were having a crack at each other. Quick frankly, there were a couple of calls that went the way of the Lions."
Seconds was assisted by an all-South African crew of assistant referees - Rasta Rasivhenge and Jaco Peyper - while Willie Vos was the TMO.
Mallett made special mention of a pass that had gone forward in the build-up to a Lions try early in the second half.
"That pass was dramatically forward, two metres forward and it ends up being a Lions try. It is not a close call. It is forward out of the hands.
"There were situations where there was a breakdown and he (Seconds) was calling players off the ball. It became a very loose and difficult game at the end because the players weren't sure which way the referee was going to blow the whistle.
"What is very difficult is that a coach has got to go into a press conference and World Rugby state quite clearly that you cannot criticise the referee. Basically that has to be done through the proper channels. The coaches have a right to approach SANZAAR but it has to go through the proper channels because obviously after each game the losing coach is never happy."