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The Roar


‘I've got to put pressure on the referee’: Savea's plan to pull tardy Boks onto line

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1st October, 2021

The Springboks have been criticised for their conservative game plan but the All Blacks are more concerned with stoppages, which prevent the game flowing.

All Blacks captain Ardie Savea says he may have to “put pressure” on the referee in Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash with South Africa to prevent the world champions from slowing the game with stoppages.

Jordie Barrett’s late penalty earned the All Blacks a 19-17 win over the Springboks last weekend that ensured they reclaimed the trophy with a fifth victory in a row.

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The Springboks have been widely criticised for their conservative, tactical-kicking game plan, but former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says the “elephant in the room” is stoppages.     


All Blacks prop Joe Moody said earlier this week he hoped the officials would do more to stop South Africa interrupting the flow of the game after the Springboks’ forwards frequently sought medical attention during the contest in Townsville.

“I have just got to put pressure on the referee in, I guess, a better way and demand a little bit more,” said Savea, who is serving as stand-in captain in the absence of Sam Whitelock.

Ardie Savea of New Zealand is tackled by Makazole Mapimpi of South Africa

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

“It’s out of our hands when the medical team is on the field and they’re saying they need to check up on him.

“There’s not much myself or the referee could do in those situations. All we can do as a team is not get frustrated. We just have to adapt and adjust like we did last week.”

English referee Matthew Carley is in charge of Saturday’s game.

Deans told New Zealand news service Stuff there was nothing wrong with the Springboks’ kick first and often approach.


“The elephant in the room in this discussion, to be honest, is not so much the method,” Deans said. 

“Last week was a great contest. The issue was the ball out of play.

“That is the issue that needs to be addressed by the powers that be. You can blame the adjudicators, or the people assessing them, but the flow in the game is gone. There are too many stoppages, and you spend too long looking at the screen.”

“There is no provision for that… If there’s blood (on a player), you go off. And you call their bluff when they are just taking a breather. If it happens again, ‘sorry, you are off, and we carry on’.

“It is all manageable.”