British and Irish Lions
McGeechan seeks referees meeting
June 21, 2009
British & Irish Lions head coach Ian McGeechan looks on at Kings Park in Durban, South Africa v British & Irish Lions, first Test, June 20, 2009
Ian McGeechan seeking to sort out scrum problems after first Test defeat © Getty Images

Ian McGeechan will meet match officials before next Saturday's Second Test in Pretoria to try to stop the problems that hit the Lions at the scrum in the first Test. The Lions coach has stopped short of publicly criticising New Zealander Bryce Lawrence in an effort to follow the protocol surrounding officials during internationals.

Next Saturday's match is due to officiated by Frenchman Christophe Berdos who acted as fourth official for the first game. Lawrence is scheduled to be a touch judge. McGeechan said the Lions were due to meet officials before the Second Test and that he would be seeking clarification over the scrum laws following the disastrous run of penalties conceded in the first match.

"We have a protocol to review the game and then ask the referees who are doing the Test series for clarification. So we obviously want to do that before next week," McGeechan said. "We need an explanation because it's important to us going forward," he added.

McGeechan conceded that the Lions had allowed South Africa to gain too greater a lead. "We had to give fewer penalties away in the first half and try to sort out the referee's interpretations of the scrum. If we could do that then we showed we could get the line breaks and build our own rugby towards scores."

Phil Vickery has attracted most of the criticism for the way he allowed Tendai Mtawarira to dominate at the scrum in the first half. The former England captain was penalised three times and was eventually substituted by Adam Jones early in the second half.

Vickery has been backed by McGeechan and Jones. The Lions coach said: "Phil is an experienced prop and we need to be clear about what is required of our tight head."

Jones said Vickery had been harshly criticised. "It seemed to be 50/50 but it was Phil who kept getting penalised. Of course, he will bounce back he's a World Cup winner and top player."


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