Super Rugby

Rebels coach on Bulls player biting: It's cowardly!

David Wessels (Getty Images)
David Wessels (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Melbourne Rebels coach David Wessels has hit back at his Bulls counterpart John Mitchell after the latter complained about the Australian team’s tactics.

Following the Bulls' 28-10 win over the Rebels in Pretoria last weekend, Mitchell criticised the Rebels’ game plan.

The Bulls mentor believed the Rebels were doing their best to slow the game down.

However, another major talking point from the game was Bulls prop Pierre Schoeman being found guilty of biting a Rebels player - which saw him receive a six-week ban.

Earlier in the week, Mitchell was reluctant to talk about the Schoeman incident and instead focused his attention on laying a complaint with SANZAAR over the Rebels’ tactics.

South African-born Wessels is in Cape Town this week where his Rebels are bracing for a clash against the Stormers at Newlands on Friday.

In an exclusive interview with Sport24, Wessels described the biting incident as a “cowardly act”.

He also questioned the timing of Mitchell’s complaint against his side.

“It’s master coaching from John Mitchell. He is an experienced coach and is trying to distract from the fact that one of his players did something like biting, which he shouldn’t have been doing,” Wessels said.

“I can’t comment on the length of the ban, but biting is a cowardly act and everybody knows that there is no place for it in the game. John’s player misbehaved in a way that is far more serious to SANZAAR than slowing the game down because players can get seriously hurt.”

Wessels added that he felt there was nothing wrong with his side trying to disrupt the Bulls’ rhythm.  

“John is trying to divert the issue into something else and make sure that he can play the game on his terms. The reality is that we played the game against the Bulls last Saturday at our tempo and how we wanted to play it rather than have the game imposed on us by the opposition. Our job was not to go and entertain the Loftus crowd, but instead to win for the people of Melbourne. I’m not too fussed about what John said post-match.

“To be clear, we wanted to slow the game at the appropriate times and play with a burst of energy at other times. I thought we managed that well. I’m sorry if our tactics upset John, but the fuss he is making about it deflects from the real issue, which is the biting.”

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