Ref got Cheetahs scrum calls wrong


Brenden Nel writing for reports that SANZAR referee’s boss, Lyndon Bray, admitted that there was a ‘big imbalance’ in the way the scrums were handled between the Cheetahs and Brumbies over the weekend.

Brenden Nel

SANZAR referees boss Lyndon Bray has admitted there was a “big imbalance” in the way referee Keith Brown allowed the Brumbies an advantage in hitting in at the scrums in their match on Saturday.

Bray has also called for more clarity on the final penalty, the one which gifted the Brumbies a victory on the whistle after being behind for most of the match.

It is clear that SANZAR is not happy with Brown’s calls in the game, especially in the setpiece, where the Cheetahs were penalised five times, often within striking distance, and saw the Brumbies claw their way back from 23-10 to win the game.

While there is nothing that can be done about the result, talk within refereeing circles is that Brown is on shaky ground and will need to up his game or fall off the SANZAR refereeing panel.

Bray, in Cape Town to meet with SARU officials and with teams in the country, said that Brown would still undergo the official SANZAR review, but had already done a “self-review” where the imbalance was apparent.

“Keith has done his own self-review and out of it the scrums to me stood out as the big imbalance. Taking out the debate about the last penalty, the imbalance came with the way he managed the engage sequence in the scrum setpieces,” Bray told

“There was no question that the Cheetahs did go early, but both packs did and that started earlier with the Brumbies going early on the engage call, to which the Cheetahs responded. There were consequences to that, in that the hip position got messy and the Cheetahs lost confidence in the engage process. Keith has to take ownership of that in the game.”

As for the final penalty, where the Cheetahs were penalised for wheeling the scrum, but have subsequently claimed it was the Brumbies and not them who wheeled the setpiece, Bray is waiting for clarity from the three country scrum experts before making a call.

The Cheetahs afterwards said they ordered players not to wheel the scrum in case there was to be a penalty, but were penalised anyway.

“I’ve sent an email to the three scrum coaches in the countries and am waiting for a response,” Bray explained.

“The issue is that about three years ago we had what we call a “sideways crib”, where the back five literally walk sideways in the scrum. At the time we all agreed that it was rubbish and a negative tactic that was not in the spirit of the contest at the scrum.

“We spent a lot of time at the time debating how do you rule on it. The coaches felt at the time that you need to allow players to have an effective forward push before a scrum can wheel. If there is that, then if the scrum goes around the corner, and the scrum literally turns on its access, it isn’t illegal, as long as there is a forward shove.”

“What I’ve asked is these three or four decisions which led to penalties and the last one to have a professional view as to how we approach this. We need to get back to all the referees and make sure they are mindful that this must be done legally.”

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  1. Nog refs in die kak..

    Line them up and shoot them and bring on the next generation… hang the heads of the cheaters like Bryce Lawrence, Keith Brown, Mark Lawrence on pikes at the entrance to the referees association to serve as an example of what not to do.

    Hopefully that will teach the beetards to start applying the letter of the law.

  2. Even as a casual observer it was obvious to me that the Brumbies were engaging early from the start of the match.

    They were not penalized.

    Then both teams started to hit early.

    Then the Cheetahs were penalized repeatedly.

    By that last scrum I was willing to bet my house on a penalty against the Cheetahs.

    As a contest this game was a nothing. Result determined by a referee that was either corrupt or incompetent. Whereas refereeing has always been a grey area, it has turned completely black recently. The IRB (and Sanzar) needs to clean house at referee boss level and start a new. The current regime has stuffed up seriously.

  3. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 3:13 am:

    The irony is according to the laws, rotating the scrum is completely legal.

    Only dangerous rotation is a penalty.
    But exactly how to differentiate is the problem. Whenever a scrum rotate the referee has complete freedom to decide whether it was legal and even more freedom in who to blame.

    Match determined by something completely arbitrary. At least if he did a coin toss to make the call there could be no suspicion of bias.

  4. ahhh, there’s a surprise bryce telling us tha the disputed scrum penalty was the legit one :roll: even the SANZAR referee boss is asking for expert advice but our bryce knows it was legit :whatever:

  5. Reply to CooleyHigh @ 6:05 am:

    Listen here ignoramus… you need to either read-up more and contribute… or cut-n-paste once you’ve lazily googled (as you always do)…

    Reply to Timeo @ 3:45 am:

    ‘Legally’ wheeling the scrum is permitted… ‘illegally’ wheeling is not…

    Examples of ‘illegal’ wheeling are:

    – Boring in
    – Pulling by props and usually loosies which is the most common…

    … and as was so clearly evident on tele in this game…

    – Not scrumming straight and wheeling by flanker/lock/8th man.

  6. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 6:34 am:

    IMO those Cheetah’s players on that side of the scrum (hardly even bound) were probably more likely out-on-their feet more than being sly… it was just too blatant… but it was there for all (including the commentators) to see…

    Should never have come to that… RSA teams still cannot protect their own ball… for every bit of magic woven by Brussouw… players like Johnson did the opposite and turned over ball to opposition… game over and another loss for the Cheetahs…

  7. Reply to Kevin_rack @ 10:03 am: where did you get “taal of the oppressor” from? :roll:

    i certainly never mentioned any of that, making assumptions aren’t you? go ask namboer what i said and stop making a peophol of yourself hehe