Coaches, players blast referee Walsh
August 19, 2001

Neither side was happy with the performance of New Zealand referee Steve Walsh during the 14-14 Vodacom Tri-Nations draw between Australia and South Africa.

The Springboks were furious that two of their players, flyhalf Butch James and captain Bob Skinstad, were sin-binned near the end of the game. The Bok No 8 said he felt James had become a marked man and was being singled out.

Coach Harry Viljoen said an unnamed official had told James before the game to be careful about his tackles.

The Wallabies were just as incensed, with captain John Eales and coach Eddie Jones both complaining the sin-binning should have come earlier. Jones said: "There are rules about consistent infringements at the tackle, and that was not policed.

"If a team keeps infringing at the break, there are a set of rules in place meant to deal with this. This is supposed to start from the beginning of the game, not at the end of it."

Eales added: "The sin-binning should have come earlier because it was the same people infringing all the time. When you have the captain of a team infringing like that, there is no doubt what the intentions of the team are out there on the field."

Both teams were disappointed with the result. "I am disappointed because I really felt we could have won the game," Skinstad said. "We did not come here for a draw."

And Jones said: "We did not play at all well. We let ourselves down in execution of our skills. Having said that, South Africa defended very well, and I do not want to take any credit from them." - Sapa

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