Cheetahs coach questions off-the-ball penalty decision
CURRIE CUP REACTION: Cheetahs head coach Hawies Fourie has questioned the penalty decision for an off-the-ball incident in the second half of their crucial clash against Western Province.
The Cheetahs suffered a heartbreaking 29-31 loss in Bloemfontein after Province flyhalf Tim Swiel slotted a penalty goal on the stroke of full-time.
The result knocked the Cheetahs out of contention for a play-off place with one more round of matches still to play.
While Swiel’s kick ended his team’s Currie Cup hopes, Fourie believes an earlier incident was the “biggest difference” between his team winning and losing.
The incident in question was Clayton Blommetjies’ off-the-ball shoulder charge on an opponent, which happened after WP lost the ball forward and after referee Stuart Berry blew his whistle.
After consulting the TMO, a penalty was awarded to the visitors and WP hooker Bongi Mbonambi scored a try from the resulting line-out in the 67th minute.
“It’s difficult for me to say what the correct decision should have been because they lost the ball in contact so it should have been an advantage to the Cheetahs,” said Fourie. “What happened after that I’m not sure. Clayton saw the knock-on and I think he relaxed a bit and then there was contact with their wing.
“It happened after a knock-on from WP. In my opinion, it should have been a scrum to the Cheetahs.
“But the TMO said it was foul play and they got a penalty and kicked it out and scored from that next phase.
“In the end, if you look back that was the biggest difference in the game. It was a great effort from the guys and we outplayed them in the second half.
“They tried to slow the game down, which was frustrating and there was a lot of penalties in the game and I feel we let ourselves down.
“I won’t feel angry towards anyone about that last scrum, we shouldn’t have been in that position. There were penalties that we could have prevented that gave Province points on the scoreboard.
“It was disappointing to lose this way.”
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Meanwhile, WP head coach John Dobson said he understands Fourie’s disappointment.
“If Hawies is disappointed I would understand it because a knock-on had happened,” said Dobson.
“Then again we are seeing all these concussions and people are going to be strict. I really can’t comment on that.
“We didn’t really want to be the people to knock the Cheetahs out. They are such a good team. They are everybody’s second favourite team, and they play with such spirit and such a nice style, so we feel that they probably deserve better.
“With regards to the shoulder charge, I think that is the law and that is how I see it.”