VIDEO: WP bemoans 50-50 calls in big loss
Western Province coach Jerome Paarwater stopped short of accusing referee Marius van der Westhuizen of bias, but admitted his team got on the wrong end of a few calls in their 21-40 loss to the Bulls in a Currie Cup Round Two match in Cape Town this week.
Paarwater said they understand exactly what they need to work on to improve going forward in the Currie Cup.
The home side launched a spirited late fightback against the Bulls in Cape Town in a midweek match, but coming back from 0-40 down in the last quarter was always going to be a tall order.
Paarwater admitted they were outplayed in the line-outs, winning only four from nine on their own throw, but suggested there were “a few 50-50 calls” in the scrums.
Province was heavily penalised in the scrums, which was a major contributing factor to their demise in the first hour – which saw the Bulls claim a 40-0 lead, before three late tries gave a semblance of respectability to the scoreboard.
“I really think there were [some] 50-50 calls against us,” the WP coach said.
“Obviously the ref’s perception is: ‘The Bulls have the strongest pack‘.
“I can’t change that perception.
“There is nothing we can do if [Bulls hooker] Bismarck [du Plessis] pulls his head out and stands up, [then] we get penalised.
“Those are the 50-50 calls I am talking about.”
He admitted the line-out problems were about “execution” on the day.
“We will take that [on the chin]. They contested well, especially on the front ball.”
Captain Nama Xaba spoke about the need to “adjust” to the referee’s rulings.
“We will learn from that,” he said, adding: “With the quality and aspirations of our side, obviously we were disappointed with the way we started.
“If you look at the bigger picture there are a lot of positives to take out of the way we finished as well.
“We didn’t drop our heads and played until the last minute.”
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While disappointed with their performance in the first hour of the North-South clash, Paarwater said that they can take heart from the fact that they never let their heads drop.
“We are proud of the second half but we let ourselves down in the first half,” the coach said.
“That is not how we want to play, but to be fair it was a short turnaround [from last Saturday’s 48-36 win over the Lions] and the Bulls pitched with a totally new side.
“So it is tough on the bodies, but no excuses we know what to work on and we just have to look forward.
“It was the second game of the season and we didn’t have a lot of time to work on our mistakes from the previous game.
“We had to focus on the Bulls and we knew what was coming, so we tried our best to put in the work this week.
“We could have given up but we didn’t which for me is a big positive.”
Western Province now has a break before their next fixture against the in Durban on Wednesday, February 2.
* Picture credit: @WP_RUGBY