Coetzee calls for TMO review
Match officials are back in the spotlight, after yet another contentious call. Jan de Koning reports.
Match officials are back in the spotlight, after yet another contentious call.
Western Province coach Allister Coetzee warned against television match officials becoming "too technical" and spoiling the product.
This follows the disputable yellow card issues to Province wing Gerhard van den Heever in the 33rd minute of their scrappy 19-13 win over Griquas at Newlands last Friday.
TMO Shaun Veldsman, who offered 'additional information' to referee Lourens van der Merwe, after being asked to review an incident, ruled that Van den Heever 'punched' Griquas scrumhalf Jacques Coetzee while running with the ball.
The WP coach was cautious not to criticize the match officials, given that it would certainly land him in trouble, but he did suggest that there is perhaps room to review the powers of the TMO.
"I am concerned that we are getting so technical, and everything on the replay is so slow, that when the hand makes contact it looks very bad," Coetzee said.
"I am very concerned how these incidents are being looked at," the WP mentor added.
He said the referee, who has a very good feel for the game, was there and saw the incident.
"An attacker that punches somebody while sidestepping ... I still have to review the incident, but to me in real time it looked like nothing.
"When a player runs and sidesteps, I don't know how he can still punch while sidestepping. As I said, I would have to review that and see if it was really a yellow card."
Coetzee admitted that he is concerned about some of the "additional information" being offered by TMO's.
"Just now you rub somebody on the head and they say you punched him," Coetzee said, adding: "I don't know, but we will look at the incident again and then make contact with the necessary people [in the refereeing fraternity]."
The Province coach suggested that the product may suffer as a result.
"[The] Currie Cup [competition] is the one that suffers," he said of contentious incidents where teams are reduced to 14 men.
The WP mentor also felt that their only recourse is to take the matter up within the existing structure, which means filing a report with the refereeing fraternity.
"If there was no real punch, I have no place to vent my frustrations - the referee is in charge."
While the Van Heerden sin-binning was nowhere near as big an issue as Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis' disgraceful sin-binning against New Zealand a week earlier, it does put back into the spotlight how match officials can influence a game by getting their calls wrong - despite having technology at their disposal.
Both Coetzee and captain De Kock Steenkamp admitted that Province played well below par and probably employed the wrong tactics in the monsoon-like conditions at Newlands.
"We could have done better tactically," Coetzee said, adding: "We played with ball in hand [too much] in the conditions. We could have turned them [around] more," he said, adding that it was really a messy game, but they will take the four points and "move on".
He said they will have to improve by 60 percent when playing the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein next week.
"We have to be [much] better and more accurate against the Cheetahs," Coetzee said.
Regular captain Deon Fourie is set to return from his rib injury and utility forward Michael Rhodes will be back from his one-match ban for stamping.
By Jan de Koning
* Watch the incident here!