Boks must 'play the ref'
Boks must 'play the ref'SHARE
South Africa were given a sobering reality check – not by the World XV, but by the whims of an Irishman.
The caprice behaviour of referee George Clancy resulted in unconceivable 30-odd penalties and free kicks in the Springboks' 47-13 win over a World XV at Newlands at the weekend.
Bok coach Heyneke Meyer admitted his team will have to be more pliable going forward, given the variables between how Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere referees look at the game.
"The one thing we have been struggling with, as a team, is that there is a totally different mindset between Super Rugby and Test matches," Meyer said, when asked if he was concerned about the high penalty count.
"In Super Rugby, especially with Southern Hemisphere referees – and I am not criticising the referee – you always get quick ball.
"You are always on the front foot, because referees are very strict on the tackler having to roll clear and hands in."
Meyer said he was "frustrated" at times that his team didn't get quick ball, because he felt they can be awesome when referees follow the laws as stipulated by the IRB.
However, he admitted that as a professional side they need to adapt to the referee.
"We sorted that out after the break, but there were unnecessary penalties and that is not good enough," the Bok coach said of his team's first outing at the weekend.
There is no doubt the Boks will have some interesting discussions about the referee, and the way the breakdown is ruled, in the build-up to this coming Saturday's Test against Wales in Durban.
Meyer felt that in the second half at Newlands they were much better and adapted better to the Irish referee.
"That is a mindset change we have to make and that is why I am so thankful for this tough outing we had," he said, adding: "Now we know what it takes to get quick ball against Northern Hemisphere teams."
Meyer said he was happy with his team's performance, despite having held a slender 18-13 lead at the break.
In the end they outscored the star-studded World XV by six tries to one and kept them scoreless in the second half.
"A lot of these guys haven't played together for six months," the Bok coach said, adding that at half-time some harsh words were spoken.
"The greatest thing for me is [there are] no injuries," Meyer said.
His biggest concern – going into the two Tests against Wales (Durban, June 14 and Nelspruit, June 21), as well as the one-off international against Scotland (Port Elizabeth, June 28) – remain the speed of delivery of the team's ruck ball.
By Jan de Koning