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Blues blow finals hopes in Stormers loss


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    An ill-disciplined Blues have lost 30-22 to the Stormers in Cape Town and almost certainly blown their Super Rugby finals hopes in the process.

    A three-game winning run ended for the Blues, who had the better of much of the game but stumbled late, espcially after the sending off of winger Matt Duffie in the 66th minute when he was shown a second yellow card.

    The result was relieving for the finals-bound Stormers, who had lost their last four games, including fearful hammerings in three games in New Zealand.

    It was just the second loss this season by a Kiwi team against offshore opponents. The Chiefs were also undone by the Stormers in Cape Town, in round seven.

    While the other New Zealand sides are on course for post-season action, the Blues’ sixth loss from 12 means they’ll almost certainly miss the playoffs for a sixth straight season.

    Their lack of panache at crucial times has proven their downfall more than once. It was evident again in a tense, testy affair on Saturday (NZT).

    Both teams scored three tries but the goalkicking of Stormers fullback SP Marais proved influential, landing six from seven shots.

    The Blues conceded 13 penalties, struggling with the officiating of Jaco van Heerden.

    When they held onto possession they were dangerous, exemplified by the remarkable ball skills of Charlie Faumuina.

    All Blacks prop Faumuina threw sweet passes to put centre George Moala and hooker James Parsons over for tries midway through the first half to put the visitors 12-3 up.

    Impressive Stormers skipper Siya Kolisi responded on the stroke of halftime but the Blues went into halftime up 19-10 when Black Gibson capitalised on a trademark offload from Sonny Bill Williams.

    A second Marais penalty was followed by a try from a quick tap and try from Stormers five-eighth Dillyn Leyds.

    Duffie’s second yellow card was for diving on a prone player, following a first-half offence when his offside play was deemed to be a professional foul.

    The Stormers also had their moments of ill-discipline.

    Lock Eben Etzebeth was shown a yellow card for instigating an all-in team scuffle in the first half.

    Their New Zealand inside centre Shaun Treeby was fortunate not to face further sanction when his high tackle on Piers Francis forced the concussed Blues five-eighth to exit on a stretcher.

    Medical staff later said Francis had been unconscious for a short period after the tackle.

    Umaga felt Treeby should have been at least shown a yellow card for the sake of consistency and was also riled by some of the other rulings from van Heerden.

    However, he didn’t want to make excuses for his team and said he will query the rulings later with Sanzaar referee boss Lyndon Bray.

    “There were some tough calls that we felt went against us but that’s the way it goes,” Umaga told reporters.

    “The Stormers brought a brutal intensity on defence and made it hard for us to build continuity in our game.”

    The Stormers, who won their first six games, boast a 7-4 record to remain comfortably on track to win their South African conference.

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (37)

    • May 20th 2017 @ 1:51pm
      Dopplerman said | May 20th 2017 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

      when in South Africa Umaga, it’s a whole new set off rules and officials.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 20th 2017 @ 5:35pm
        Kirky said | May 20th 2017 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

        Dopplerman! You said it mate, that Van Heerden should be put on notice for two rotten displays in a row, he was bad last week and worse this week~ Why wasn’t Treeby marched for that hit on Piers Francis?

        Tana Umaga is not one to complain so he must’ve seen the bad side of something that wasn’t penalised, so as you say In South Africa it’s a different set of rules, just make sure you don’t lose!

    • Roar Guru

      May 20th 2017 @ 2:40pm
      The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 20th 2017 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

      I have come out in defense of the refs in a big way many times. I tried to ref soccer myself and it is extremely hard to be a ref and that experience humbled me. As Shag says* toughest gig on the field”.

      But I am rethinking some of my previous stands. Because when I refereed soccer, you have no TMO and you get exactly zero help from the players (if anything, they try to trick you non stop). Every call has to be made in an instant. That refs will make mistakes under those premises is obvious.

      Rugby refs who can watch video replays for several minutes really don’t have any excuse to make poor calls unless there are no good angles from the replays (that is pretty rare and happens most of the time around try calls).

      The high tackle on Piers Francis was at least “orange” (right between yellow and red) and at almost every replay angle the TMO and ref watched the incident, it was so clear to see.
      How can two pro refs who watch a situation for minutes miss something so obvious? I am seriously dumbfounded cause I am not big on conspiracy theories.

      • May 20th 2017 @ 6:31pm
        davSA said | May 20th 2017 @ 6:31pm | ! Report

        I , also a SA supporter agree with all comments on the ref. . There is a review committee procedure and all refs are under scrutiny so was it deliberate one sidedness. Being deliberately bias will not serve his future career well . Makes no sense these days so my only inference is it was just poor refereeing . I would support neutral refereeing for all games but financially it is expensive and for a cash challenged tournament probably not an option.

        • May 20th 2017 @ 8:55pm
          davSA said | May 20th 2017 @ 8:55pm | ! Report

          And I’m afraid most of those dodge calls went to the TMO Veldsman . He must also come under some scrutiny.

      • May 20th 2017 @ 6:34pm
        ebop said | May 20th 2017 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

        Yeah it was dodgy as heck

        Surely the ref/tmo will get a bit of a talking to behind closed doors and get red carded

        If not, it’ll make a mockery of WR’s much trumpeted policy of reducing dangerous play, concussion and potential law suits

        At the very least Treeby will be cited and spend some time polishing his boots

        He’ll deserve it

      • May 20th 2017 @ 10:58pm
        Mike Julz said | May 20th 2017 @ 10:58pm | ! Report

        It should’ve been a red. I bet ya if it was the other way around with the Blues being the tackler, it would’ve been a whole different story.
        I’m surprised that he didn’t even have a look at it, just to clarify, like what they always do.
        What I find it a lil bit dodgy about this is how the TMO straight away told the ref that its only a penalty only, at least three times, without the ref having to look at it for the second time.

        That tackle deserves a second third fourth look just to see any foul play, mainly because it injured the player. A yellow would’ve been suffice, but it was clearly a red card.

      • May 21st 2017 @ 4:33pm
        cuw said | May 21st 2017 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

        @ The Neutral View From Sweden

        yeah and u know after matches every week , i complain about the reffing .

        i just dont know why they let Joubert go – that was nucking futs!!!

        and what is more concerning is that these non-performing refs get game after game , while the better ones like the JAP ref and RASTAMAN have reffed very little. even Jackson seems to be out of favor.

        also concerning that the good ones like Gardner are out of form this season – Gardner has been rubbish for a test level ref this year.

        knowing how abysmal these guys are , why do keep on appointing home town TEAMS to ref ??? , surely if u can send a team of 35 abroad, another 3 aint gonna be much of an issue – to have neutral ref team in these matches.

        this is really bad for business. maybe they need to hire Stephanie McMahon – she knows whats good for business 🙂

    • May 20th 2017 @ 3:59pm
      Mongolian Expat said | May 20th 2017 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

      Neutral, I have to say I agree with you. Add the tap taken at least 3m from the mark that the ref had just “marked”, which the Sormers scored from, the Blues were on a road to nowhere.

    • May 20th 2017 @ 4:21pm
      midnight.mangler said | May 20th 2017 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

      As a South African supporter I thought the reffing in that game was pretty shocking and the Blues have cause to feel aggrieved.

      Fully agree with Neutral’s view – some of the slow mo replays were so blatantly obviously penalties (or yellows) I can’t fathom how a pro ref could screw that up. Time to bring back neutral refs. What is so hard about that?

    • May 20th 2017 @ 7:19pm
      leftfield said | May 20th 2017 @ 7:19pm | ! Report

      Nevermind the other decisions, I find the Treeby-Francis decision concerning as I remember a lot of talk at the start of the season about zero tolerance for contact with the head for safety reasons, and this completely flies in the face of that.

    • May 20th 2017 @ 7:19pm
      Ryan said | May 20th 2017 @ 7:19pm | ! Report

      Pretty sad mark on the game. Everyone agrees it was a poor display from the refs.
      Blues have been robbed of their chance to push for an unlikely finals spot.

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