Ref’s call baffles Bulls coach
REACTION: Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White was left puzzled by the officials following his team’s defeat to the Stormers on Saturday.
The Bulls suffered a narrow 17-19 defeat to the Stormers at the Cape Town Stadium.
The result means the Stormers are on top of the South African Shield and levelled with fourth-placed Irish side Munster on the overall log.
The Bulls are in the eight-placed, trailing the Cape Town franchise by four points.
The highly-anticipated North-South derby was intense and certainly came to life in the closing minutes with the big talking point being flank Hacjivah Dayimani’s clear high tackle on Bulls fullback Kurt Lee Arendse.
The Bulls back Arendse raced away down the left-hand touchline after fielding a kick only to be hit with a high tackle by Dayimani. The Bulls then scored in the next phase.
Referee Frank Murphy allowed the try to stand initially with no yellow card on the tackler, but the high shot forced Arendse to knock the ball on in the lead up which was picked up by TMO Marius van der Westhuizen.
The referee then changed his decision on the yellow card, sending Dayimani to the bin for ‘cynical play’ but told Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee that the tackle occurred too far out for a penalty try to be awarded.
Both sides were left to feel aggrieved by the decision, which flip-flopped after long deliberation.
Fortunately for the Bulls, Elrigh Louw eventually scored the team’s second try for the losing bonus-point.
Speaking to reporters after the match White questioned the outcome the officials reached but revealed he wouldn’t ‘throw his toys’ over the call.
“How do you get a yellow card for a head-high tackle with an open try line?” White asked after the game.
“From there, you worry about the knock-on. Of course, he knocked it on. When you whack a guy around the neck, of course, he’ll knock it on.
“We scored anyway and he got a yellow card. When you rewind the game, you’d pick up certain things and hope that a red card was given.
“I’ve gotten older and wiser the more I’ve coached, so I won’t be throwing my toys. We’re still in the tournament, which is alive and kicking.
“There’s a lot of rugby to be played.”
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When asked about his team’s overall performance, White admitted his team struggled at the breakdown and looked a little bit ‘disorganised’.
“At times, we looked a little bit disorganised,” White said.
“We put ourselves under pressure from the first phase and a bit from the lineouts as well. We couldn’t get any rhythm, and they were very good at the breakdown.
“Every time we did get the ball, we struggled to keep it through a couple of phases. It’s not the best we played – it’s one of those games.”
He added: “It’s difficult to play here. It’s difficult to play against the Stormers in Cape Town. At least we got a losing bonus point and at least we are still alive, and that’s obviously crucial.”