Rugby Championship

Springboks hopeful latest video to World Rugby has given them clarity on scrums

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Siya Kolisi and Luke Pearce last weekend. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
Siya Kolisi and Luke Pearce last weekend. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
  • The Springboks believe they now have a better understanding of how the scrums will be refereed for the rest of the Rugby Championship.
  • Coach Jacques Nienaber revealed they needed to get used to a northern hemisphere interpretation after their dominance in last week's Test against the Aussies went unrewarded.
  • While not coming across as hostile to the refs as Rassie Erasmus did during the Lions series, Nienaber says communication remains key.

The Springboks are hopeful of having a better understanding of how scrums will be refereed for the rest of their Rugby Championship campaign.

Head coach Jacques Nienaber confirmed that he and his coaching staff - as they do on a weekly basis - sent clips to World Rugby seeking clarification on certain decisions made during last weekend's narrow 28-26 loss to the Wallabies on the Gold Coast.

Of concern would've been how South Africa's dominance at the scrums went unrewarded, while there's a school of thought that Australia shouldn't have been awarded their match-winning penalty in the dying seconds because they scrummed inwards illegally.

Nonetheless, the Boks have now determined that they'll need to approach the set-pieces as if they're playing in the northern hemisphere.

READ | Springboks go diplomatic route as ref debate rages: 'It's a difficult job'

"We've got a framework that we work with now, which we probably didn’t know before. It's the same framework they used in the Six Nations, and obviously us not playing any rugby before the Georgia Test match, we weren't 100% sure. We didn't know what the process was," said Nienaber, ahead of Saturday's "rematch" against the Wallabies in Brisbane.

"But we make our clips like we normally do, and ours went out on Monday - the day after the match, after our review.

"It went to Joel Jutge (World Rugby's referee head) and they reviewed it and they came back to us. The purpose of that is to get alignment from our side.

"Everybody makes mistakes. We make mistakes, referees sometimes get things wrong, you can't get everything right."

While that appears a far more conciliatory approach to what happened during the British & Irish Lions series, where Rassie Erasmus's 62-minute presentation to World Rugby was "leaked" and now means he'll be subjected to disciplinary action, Nienaber acknowledged that potential discrepancies need to still be pointed out.

Most importantly, sourcing explanations on certain decisions is a key component to the selection process.

"Let’s say a player conceded three penalties, and then the referee will come back and say that was maybe a 50-50 call that could have gone the other way. Or maybe he wasn't offsides or he didn't transgress, or we could reward him there at the breakdown. That provides different perspectives on a player's performance," said Nienaber.

"Then obviously that will influence selection. You will look at a player and say you conceded three, but they came back and said two of those weren't penalties, and that 'play on' would have been a better call. That's what we want from coaches and our team's point of view."

Nienaber hopes to have a chat with Matthew Carley, this weekend's referee, to clarify a few things.

"Not all referees are the same in terms of how they interpret the contest and what they would like to see in that contest. It's something we just aligned again after the Test match. The feedback and work from them has been good, from Joel's side and the referee's side. There's good alignment.

"We will probably get another opportunity to talk with them, hopefully on Thursday or Friday we will have a meeting again, just to get clarity with our captain and vice-captain, and almost get a relationship going so that when they meet on the pitch, it's not the first time that they will have a chat about certain things."

Kick-off is at 09:05 (SA time) on Saturday.



15 Tom Banks, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Folau Fainga'a, 1 James Slipper

Substitutes: 16 Feleti Kaitu'u, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Tom Robertson, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Reece Hodge, 23 Jordan Petaia


15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Trevor Nyakane

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marco van Staden, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Jasper Wiese, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse

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