Boks coach says All Blacks get better treatment from refs

Thursday, September 19th, 2019 00:00 |
New Zealand and South Africa during a past march. The two face off on Saturday in one of the highlight matches of the Rugby World Cup. Photo/AGENCIES

Tokyo, Wednesday

South Africa stepped up pressure on referee Jerome Garces ahead of their blockbuster World Cup clash with the All Blacks, saying it was a “well known fact” that tight decisions often go New Zealand’s way.

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus said the match was too close to call after the two sides were separated by no more than two points in their past four clashes.

But he added that referees had so much respect for the All Blacks, the three-time world champions, that 50-50 decisions often fell in their favour.

His message to the French whistleblower came just two days after his assistant coach Mzwandile Stick appealed for “equal treatment” from Garces, and three days ahead of Saturday’s showdown in Yokohama, the most anticipated game of the pool stage.

Erasmus, who named his strongest possible combination on Thursday, with the return of a fit-again Siya Kolisi the only change to the side that drew 16-16 with New Zealand two months ago, said the teams were evenly matched.

“The thing that makes it special is if you asked anyone right now who is going to win this Test match I don’t think anyone will bet on any of the two teams,” he said.

“If you ask our boys they think we’ve got a really good chance. If you ask their team they think they’ve got a really good chance and hopefully the referee is not too sure,” he added.

Kick and chase 

Garces, who has red-carded two All Blacks and a Springbok, has handled three matches between the two sides in recent years, all of them won by New Zealand.

They narrowly won 20-18 in the 2015 World Cup semi-finals and 25-24 two years later when Springbok centre Damian de Allende was sent off.

In between, Garces oversaw the 2016 blowout when the All Blacks triumphed 57-15.

Although the All Blacks have slipped behind Ireland in the world rankings, Erasmus said their dominance over the past decade had earned them credit with match officials.

“Referees buy into that respect because you are playing so well,” he said.

“It was a well-known fact that when it was really tough and teams were under the pump some of the 50-50 decisions just went (New Zealand’s) way because they deserved that for being number one so long.” -AFP

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