The Stormers have chosen to focus on matters within their control, and will not dwell on debatable refereeing decisions, according to their assistant coach Gary Gold.
Phil Coetzer writes for Rugby 365 that the Cape Town franchise narrowly lost their Super 14 meeting against the Blues in Auckland on Saturday, following Aussie referee Paul Marks failed to produce a yellow card as punishment for Blues lock Kurtis Haiu.
Haiu swung at least three punches at Stormers forwards Francois Louw and Brok Harris late in the match.
The Blues took advantage of their lucky escape, and broke the deadlock through a Ben Atiga penalty in the dying seconds of the game.
Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus said after the match that referee Marks had been influenced by the vocal home crowd at Eden Park, and that caused him to favour the home side in certain decisions.
But Gold revealed exclusively to rugby365.com that his squad have not taken too much notice of all the controversy.
“To be honest with you, in the camp we have spoken very little about the incident. We don’t really want to keep going on in cliches, but in the beginning of the year [we settled on] an environment of no excuses,” Gold said on Monday.
“You have good calls and you have bad calls, and we had a bad call, and the game’s over. We lost the game, but there are a lot of other things we should be focusing our attention on that we can get right, you know.
The Stormers mentor, who is strongly in the running for the Springbok assistant coaching position, told Rugby365 that there had been a constructive meeting with the match officials after the match in Auckland.
“We had a long conversation with the ref after the game. He was really understanding and open about the fact that he made an error, and we move on now,” said Gold.
“It was a call in the game that didn’t go in our favour. The week before people saw that Sireli [Naqelevuki] stepped out, and he wasn’t called for it.
Gold also stressed that is was imperative for his squad not to use the incident as an excuse for their loss. Instead, they were concentrating on staying in control of the factors within their control.
“I just think it is important that you don’t want to get yourself into a situation where you’re looking for excuses around every corner and you’re not addressing the proper problems.
“And that’s why Rassie has made it very clear from the beginning that there are no excuses, and that’s exactly how the camp’s been operating.
“No one’s really discussed it at the team meeting or the video session [on Monday], it was just about what we can do in areas of the game we believe we can improve on.
“If you have a bad call by a referee, we must do better to prevent that bad call by the referee. It’s guaranteed, you will get bad calls, simple as that.
Coach Gold revealed a philosophical slant on matters, and stated that rough decisions were part and parcel of the game.
“They [referees] are not cheats, they make mistakes, they’re human,” he said.
“Unfortunately sometimes the consequences are quite huge because you lose games of rugby, but that’s why we are aspiring to be a better team.
“I’m sure the Crusaders get bad calls, but you don’t hear them moaning about it,” Gold joked.
It wasn’t all bad news for the Stormers though. Gold revealed that the squad came through the weekend’s efforts without any major injury worries.
“Jo Pietersen just tweaked a hamstring at training, but he’s not been in our bigger squad, so it’s fine,” he said.
“Everybody else is fit and healthy and ready to go, and everybody trained today.”
Gold and the Stormers will face the Western Force next in Round Seven of the Super 14.
The Force currently occupy fourth place on the log standings, and have been on a similar run of good form to their South African visitors.
Friday’s encounter in Perth is sure to be a cracker between two exciting teams vying for semifinal berths.Tweet