Home Side's Waltz Interrupted by Walsh ; SOUTH AFRICAN VIEWPOINT

By Bills, Peter | The Independent on Sunday (London, England), May 27, 2007 | Go to article overview
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Home Side's Waltz Interrupted by Walsh ; SOUTH AFRICAN VIEWPOINT


Bills, Peter, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)


This was a one-sided game with refereeing that was equally unsatisfactory. Those locals who took one look at the teams for this mis-match and walked in the opposite direction to the stadium got it spot-on. No one can pretend they learned anything of real value here.

If South African critics believe the standard of English rugby has plummeted in recent years, it is fair to say it has not sunk as far as Steve Walsh's refereeing. Not content with making the blunder that cost the Sharks the Super 14 title last weekend in Durban, the New Zealander was at it again in yesterday's crisp winter sunshine. His was a simply awful performance.

South Africa's superiority was extensive enough without Walsh making mistakes that handed them scores on a plate. But that was how the Springboks scored their first try of a palpably absurd game which ended in a record-breaking but completely hollow victory. Wynand Olivier clearly took out two defenders when the ball was moved right in the 23rd minute, but the obvious crossing offence never occurred to Walsh and the recalled wing Ashwin Willemse was able to stroll over in the right corner for the first of his team's tries.

Walsh also failed to get on top of the mess at the set scrums. Sometimes one despairs at the standards of international refereeing. This was one of those days.

But not even 58 points can have completely satisfied the Springboks, for they gave a lopsided performance.

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