Matfield hits out at Irish refs

SOUTH AFRICA lock Victor Matfield was yesterday despairing at the way Irish referees Alan Lewis and Alain Rolland have policed the breakdown, following his side’s second successive Tri Nations defeat to New Zealand in Wellington on Saturday.

Matfield, his skipper John Smit and coach Pieter de Villiers were clearly unhappy with the way Lewis and Rolland have policed that area in the past two Tests, where the All Blacks have been able to pilfer South African ball or at least disrupt it.

“I felt we couldn’t get quick ball,” said Matfield. “In the Super 14 they got the tackler away much quicker and that’s not happening at the moment.

“But again we want to adapt to the referee and we didn’t do it tonight. We’ve had them (northern hemisphere referees) two weeks now and in the Super 14 it was definitely quicker.”

De Villiers pulled no punches, calling for greater consistency.

“We have played six (Test matches this year) and in the six games we’ve had six different types of plays on the ground. It’s frustrating,” he said.

“We’ve got the same skill we had last year when we won the Tri-Nations. We’re so used to playing the new laws in the Super 14 and now in the six games we’ve played they are different.

“I don’t like to prepare guys to cheat and it seems to me that’s the only way going forward if you want to be on top of those kind of things. That’s 70% of your game.”

The big lock also lamented the fact that, for the second week in a row, the Springboks had been forced to play with 14 men after Danie Rossouw was sin-binned with less than four minutes gone at Westpac Stadium.

Rossouw was sent to cool his heels on the sidelines after feigning to knee McCaw when he was on the ground.

There appeared to be little in the incident but Rolland thought otherwise and sent a shocked Rossouw to the sinbin.

“Danie was very surprised by the yellow. He still doesn’t know exactly what he did wrong. We’ll have to have a look at it,” Matfield said.

There was further disciplinary misery for the Boks yesterday, when they learned will have to do without former Munster back Jean de Villiers for next weekend’s clash with Australia in Brisbane. De Villiers was cited for a lifting tackle on Rene Ranger in the first half of Saturday’s match in Wellington, and has been suspended until August 1.

Meanwhile, All Blacks coach Graham Henry believes there is better to come from his side.

Henry’s side have outscored their rivals by eight tries to two in the two games with their success arriving on the back of good counter-attacking rugby, choking defence and superiority at the breakdown, which has given them quick ruck ball to run the Springboks off their feet. I think we’re probably playing about 75%,” said Henry. “I think we can get a lot better. We’re not getting carried away. Obviously we’re delighted to win and we’ve played some pretty good rugby in the last couple of weeks.

Scorers for New Zealand: M Nonu, M Muliaina, R Ranger, I Dagg try each; D Carter con, 2 pens; P Weepu pen.

Scorers for South Africa: D Rossouw, S Burger try each; M Steyn 2 cons, pen.

NEW ZEALAND: M Muliaina; C Jane, C Smith, M Nonu, R Ranger; D Carter, P Weepu; T Woodcock, K Mealamu, O Franks; B Thorn, T Donnelly; J Kaino, R McCaw (capt), K Read.

Replacements: C Flynn for Mealamu (75), B Franks for O Franks (68), S Whitelock for Donnelly (63), L Messam for McCaw (75), J Cowan for Weepu (63), A Cruden for Nonu (73), I Dagg for Ranger (63).

SOUTH AFRICA: Z Kirchner; J de Villiers, J Fourie, W Olivier, B Habana; M Steyn, R Januarie; G Steenkamp, J Smit (capt), CJ van der Linde; D Rossouw, V Matfield; S Burger, F Louw, P Spies.

Replacements: C Ralepelle for Smit (75), BJ Botha for Van der Linde (h/t), A Bekker for Rossouw (53), R Kankowski for Spies (69), R Pienaar fort Januarie (53), G Aplon for de Villiers (h/t).

Referee: A Rolland (Ireland).

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