The Sharks aren’t too preoccupied with the baggage that the referee for Saturday’s match against the Chiefs, Mike Fraser, brings to King’s Park.
New Zealander Fraser has been heavily criticised for his showing in last weekend’s arm-wrestle at Newlands, a performance that enraged the Stormers to such an extent that their director of rugby, Gert Smal, laid an official complaint.
Yet Robert du Preez, the Durbanites’ head coach, has already cleared the air with the man with the whistle.
“I’ve spoken to Mike this week already,” he said on Thursday.
“We’ve sent him the clips about the things we want him to be on the look out for this weekend. I’ve looked at the scrums and I really don’t know where the complaints came from.
“I don’t see any issue with the way he officiated the scrums. I thought he was spot-on. It’s a new game. We have no problems with Mike Fraser.”
Du Preez, however, concedes that Sanzaar – the governing body for rugby in the Southern Hemisphere – are placing themselves in a difficult position by not appointing neutral referees.
“The fact that a New Zealander is refereeing against a New Zealand team isn’t supposed to be a factor that we take into consideration,” he said.
“Referees do make mistakes, we all know that. It’s part of the game. All this practice does is leave Sanzaar open to potential criticism, like last week when a New Zealander was part of a game in which a New Zealand side participated.
“We really have no complaints. He must just do his job.”
Sharks: Curwin Bosch, Sbu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Andre Esterhuizen, Lwazi Mvovo, Robert du Preez, Louis Schreuder, Dan du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez, Philip van der Walt, Ruan Botha (c), Tyler Paul, Thomas du Toit, Akker van der Merwe, Beast Mtawarira. Bench: Franco Marais, Juan Schoeman, Ross Geldenhuys, Stephan Lewies, Jacques Vermeulen, Cameron Wright, Marius Louw, Makazole Mapimpi.