‘Stormers should have got a penalty’

PUBLISHED: February 19, 2008

The try that Bryan Habana scored for the Bulls at Newlands last Saturday was legal but the Stormers were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty try earlier in the first half of their Super 14 match.

Andre Watson, chief is SA referees, expressed this opinion on Monday after watching video footage of several incidents during the match, which the Bulls won 16-9.

Former test referee Tappe Henning said on Sunday he thought the Bulls may have gained possession illegally from a ruck before Habana scored the only try of the match.

Watson felt, after watching the video, that Willie Roos had been correct in awarding the try.

“There was nothing wrong with the decision. A lot of things happened. (Stormers centre) Jean de Villiers blatantly came in from the side of the ruck. Advantage was not indicated but it had no influence on what happened.

“(Bulls centre) Wynand Olivier then gets up and steals the ball. I had no problem with that,” Watson said.

However, he felt the Stormers could have been awarded a penalty try for an earlier infringement by Bulls flank Wikus van Heerden.

The Stormers were in the process of scoring a push-over try from a scrum when Van Heerden dived on the ball from an offside position.

Watson felt it was a “cynical infringement”.

“I would not have minded had the referee awarded a penalty try. I have seen penalty tries for less serious infringements.”

Watson thought Bulls No 8 Pedrie Wannenburg and Stormers wing Sireli Naqelevuki were fortunate to escape punishment for similar serious infringements.

Wannenburg tripped the Fijian wing during the second half but was not penalised. Naqelevuki was penalised for a spear tackle but Watson felt he should have been shown a yellow card.

“It is unacceptable that three people (Roos and the touch judges, Linston Manuels and Jaco Peyper) missed the tripping incident,” Watson said.

“We don’t want to see that kind of play. England captain Phil Vickery was banned for three matches for a similar infringement during the Rugby World Cup.”

Roos remains in the firing line for his control at breakdown points. The Bulls employed negative tactics during the second half but were not penalised for repeated offences at breakdown points.

The Stormers adapted to the tactics later when it became clear that Roos was not going to award free-kicks quickly enough.