Blitzboks right to complain, says NZ scribe

Neil Powell (Gallo Images)
Neil Powell (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - A New Zealand scribe says the Blitzboks are right to feel aggrieved by the refereeing decisions following this past weekend’s Wellington Sevens.

South Africa suffered a 24-21 Cup Final loss to New Zealand after the hosts scored a try after the hooter had sounded.

South Africa led 21-7 deep into the second half, but a yellow card for Rosco Specman cost the Blitzboks dearly as the Kiwis used their one-man advantage to get back into the contest.

The Blitzboks were heavily punished at the breakdown area by referee Matt O'Brien, a New Zealander now based in Australia.

Blitzboks coach Neil Powell felt his team was "unlucky" not to emerge victorious, adding that they will sit down with the referees and see how they can improve.

The South Africans also lost 19-14 to New Zealand in the pool phases, with the Kiwis scoring a late try to snatch victory.

However, Mark Reason, a columnist for the website, feels Powell and his team are right to question the refereeing.

He wrote: “The Boks are outraged by both the refereeing of their pool match and their final against New Zealand at the Wellington sevens and while it may go against the grain to feel empathy with a South African rugby supporter, they have a point.

"The officiating of both those matches made any neutral observer wonder what the hell was going on.

"Let's start with the final. The penalty count in that match was 9-1 in favour of New Zealand and they were not the dominant side. Every marginal call went their way. They got away with forward passes and knock-ons, while South Africa were penalised, once quite crucially, for knock-ons that seemed to have propelled the ball back out of the hand.

"New Zealand were allowed to do whatever they liked at the breakdown. They came in from ludicrously offside positions to clean out, notably in an important try scored by Rieko Ioane.

"In contrast South Africa were penalised at one breakdown even when the men in black were not competing for the ball."

CLICK HERE to read the full column on the website


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