Western Province coach John Dobson has questioned the officiating of the scrums in his team’s Currie Cup match against the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The visitors from the Cape were on the wrong end of some strange penalty decisions despite at times decimating the Lions scrum.
Following the Lions’ last-gasp 22-19 win, Dobson was left puzzled about his team being penalised by referee Griffin Colby for “swimming around” when it was obvious the Lions couldn’t handle the pressure.
“It felt like we weren’t allowed to scrum (today), one of our strong points,” said Dobson.
“I don’t know if it’s still worth it to keep your Steven Kitshoffs and Frans Malherbes on the pitch, because I don’t think I have ever seen such reset penalties or penalties I didn’t even know what they were for,” said Dobson.
The Province coach wondered whether they were actually doing the right thing at scrum-time because, he said, if they weren’t being rewarded for a good scrum, it served no purpose.
“We gave away three scrum penalties (today) which is probably the most for our entire season,” he said.
Stormers captain Siya Kolisi called the result “horrible” because his team had worked hard for 70 minutes, but moving away from the plan had “hurt us again.”
“We worked so hard to create opportunities in their 22 and then we didn’t take them,” said Kolisi. “Then the Lions took advantage when we went off plan.
“It doesn’t happen often that you lead 19-9 at Ellis Park and then you throw it away; it honestly breaks you,” he said.
Dobson said it was tough to lose narrowly two weeks in a row. “We lost 22-20 and 22-19 two weeks in a row so we are under the pump; we are helluva disappointed,” he said.
Besides having to deal with the narrow loss, the Province coach and the players also have to come to terms with more injuries that have rocked the side.
Prop Neethling Fouche, lock Salmaan Moerat and No 8 Juarno Augustus all suffered concussion while wing Seabelo Senatla has an MCL knee injury.