Wales coach claims Rees-Zammit yellow card was wrong
Wales coach Wayne Pivac revealed that they had ‘feedback’ from World Rugby on a number of contentious issues in their heartbreaking 29-32 loss to South Africa in the opening match of the three-Test series in Pretoria last week.
The Welsh will look to square up the series when the two sides meet in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
While they said they have ‘moved on’ from the tough calls that went against them last week, Pivac also made it clear they feel the Springboks got the ‘rub of the green’ at Loftus Versfeld last week.
The Louis Rees-Zammit yellow card in the 74th minute – which also resulted in a crucial penalty try moments later – turned out to be a game-changing decision by rookie Georgian referee Nika Amashukeli.
It is a decision that was questioned by the retired referee and now analyst Nigel Owens, who said for him it was “very, very harsh” as it was “textbook defending” by Rees-Zammit – let alone the yellow card.
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The Welsh coach, who said he followed the proper channels to get feedback from World Rugby, suggested that the international controlling body agrees that the Welsh had been ‘hard done by’.
“One of the players of the match was penalised,” he said of Rees-Zammit’s “excellent” cover tackle on Springbok replacement Willie le Roux at a crucial, late stage in the game.
“They scored a try off that and we had another player sin-binned.
“That was a big moment in the game for us and very disappointing,” Pivac said, adding that they had moved on from the issues in the first Test and focused on what they needed to do to win the second Test in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Asked if they had taken the matter – and other issues – up with World Rugby, Pivac confirmed that they had received feedback.
He described Rees-Zammit as “the most unlucky player in the match” and added that he felt it was “excellent play” by the flying wing.
“It was a big, big moment in the game,” Pivac said.
“It was very frustrating.
“[However], we know there are areas in the game we need to improve on in terms of our discipline.
“We felt, also, there were some things that didn’t go our way.
“We have put that behind us, we got the learnings from that. We spoke of the areas of the game that we need to tighten up on in terms of our discipline.
“Hopefully we can make sure we achieve that in the second Test,” he said of the crunch encounter in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Saturday’s Test will be the 39th between the two countries – with the Springboks having won 31, Wales won six and one drawn.
The Boks have scored 977 and conceded 615, with 115 tries for and 51 tries against.