Ref: Mr. Steve Lander (England)
Well this was the perfect game for an English Referee - he was as much a spectator as the rest of us. Not much was required of him once the ABs got into gear. Most of the decisions were handed to him ("... just sign here, Mr. Lander").
This meant that he didn't really have much of a chance to screw up too much. Still that doesn't leave much fun for a Referee Reviewer!
Looking at the Penalties, it was pretty even in the first half:
- Forwards over the top - killing the ball
- High tackle (by # 4)
- Obstruction - backs crossing
- Playing the ball on the ground
- Offside, and a companion "Not back 10m"
- No Arms in tackle
- and finally... Offside
- Accidental Offside
- Not behind last feet
General Comments about the game: I was really pleased with the media build up to this game. The general message seemed to be, "Well... we will win of course, but it should be a toughy!"
I felt like taking the Tongan coach to task about his statement that the Tongans had adopted a "South African style of play".
I'm not sure where "getting kicked really badly" comes into the South African style of playing rugby... unless you are trying to emulate the Bulls!
He (the Tongan Coach) did have the decency to say nice things about the ABs after the game, so I might have to send him a chocolate fish or something!
Apart from the rugger, we at Cone Stadium got to enjoy the new Southern Stand, which was an excellent effort for extra temporary seating, being constructed on demand 5 minutes before kickoff. A capacity crowd (of 9) managed to fit in, without having to use the corporate box (looking through the lounge window, from outside!). Although DH was threatened with it when the Hot and Spicy Pizza kicked in!
Back to the Referee - There were signs of pendantic decisions early on, but as I said, he wasn't needed much after the first 20 minutes.
I think that we have not seen the last of Mr. Lander, we will probably be seeing more of him in the Tri Nations. He will get a chance to prove whether or not he is better than Andrae Watson!!!
Now all of you say along with me... "Oh, good! That will be something to look forward too!
Alright, once more... and mean it this time!