Boks 'approve' of Aussie referee

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:14

JUNE SPOTLIGHT: South Africa have given their unconditional support to Australian referee Angus Gardner for their final June fling.

The Springboks - with an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series, after a 37-14 win in Pretoria and a 37-15 victory in Durban - face France at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.

With ticket sales having already topped the 52,000 mark and looking like drawing the largest crowd since 1993 - where over 60 000 supporters crowded the stadium Johannesburg-based venue - the Boks fancy themselves to whitewash the French.

However, coach Allister Coetzee said there are a few 'battles' they have to win against a French team determined to regain some lost pride.

And one of the key elements will be how they adjust to the referee's interpretations in the heated scrum battles.

Coetzee pointed to the set-piece battle as vital.

"They would like to take you into dark places, try and win that battle and get penalties from that," Coetzee said, when asked where the French will pose the biggest threat.

"We have to be as tidy and as accurate, perhaps even better, at scrum time.

"It is a different referee, so we have to adapt to [Australian referee] Angus [Gardner]," the coach said, adding: "He is a fantastic ref.

"Fortunately we have had Angus in Super Rugby - that's a plus for us.

Coetzee also felt the French maul is a "massive tool" that they use to get go-forward.

"We can't afford to drop our guard and not front up and stop the maul.

"Once they are on the front foot they can score tries from anywhere.

"We also have to make sure we win the collision and gainline battles."

Despite France having never lost in four previous encounters with the Boks at Ellis Park, Coetzee said they have a "simple plan" to and their French duck in Johannesburg.

"There is massive clarity in the plan," he said, adding: "Even the guys outside the matchday 23 understands the plan well."

By Jan de Koning, in Johannesburg