Highlanders bear brunt of questionable calls

Aaron Mauger hit out at South African referee Rasta Rasivhenge in the wake of their late loss to...
Aaron Mauger hit out at South African referee Rasta Rasivhenge in the wake of their late loss to the Lions in South Africa. Photo: Getty Images
Kiwi Super Rugby coaches have taken aim at the competition's officials after some contentious calls during the latest round of the competition.

The Highlanders copped the brunt of the refereeing woes during the round; with South African referee Rasta Rasivhenge doling out a 12-3 penalty count in favour of the Lions during their match in Johannesburg on Sunday morning.

Aaron Mauger hit out at the officiating after the match, saying there will be things Rasivhenge will want to tidy up when he reviews his performance, and suggesting Sanzaar would take a good look at it as well.

"They need to go through that process with the referees, and just like we hold ourselves and our players accountable I'm sure there'll be a few questions around that performance this evening," he told Stuff.

Chiefs coach Colin Cooper also questioned the competition's officiating after some questionable decisions in his side's loss to the Blues in Auckland on Saturday night.

Blues prop Ofa Tuungafasi was awarded a try in the second half, with the Chiefs' cries for a knock on in the grounding going unheard, while Chiefs flanker Pita Gus Sowakula had a late try awarded, then overturned by the TMO.

"We didn't get the rub of the green," Cooper said after the game.

"Tries went their way which maybe should have been looked at and weren't looked at. We were awarded a try and unless the TMO got another view, I couldn't understand why Pita Gus's wasn't a try."

Back in South Africa, the Crusaders were forced to settle for a draw against the Stormers after TMO Marius Jonker called back play when it appeared Sevu Reece had scored a spectacular match-winning try.

Jonker alerted referee Nic Berry to what he described as a "clear and obvious" forward pass by Braydon Ennor, although replays were inconclusive on whether it came out of Ennor's hands backwards and was carried forward by simple momentum.

Crusaders assistant coach Brad Mooar suggested the pass being made with a line in sight probably didn't help his team's case.

"We were obviously disappointed, we liked the first decision better, but at the same time that's what the officials are there to do. I suspect the pass, having been on or around the halfway line, the presence of the line probably didn't help, but how do you sum those up?

"That's not the reason we drew the game. We had our opportunities and that was one of them. It was still great play, just ruled forward."

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