The Lions were the first to throw a barb over the perceived cheating tactics employed by their New Zealand opponents, with head coach Syws de Bruin calling for the referee Angus Gardner to be on high alert over issues at scrum time and the offside line.
“Going through their [Crusaders’] clips, there are a lot of stuff they get away with‚ more than other teams get away with.
“I will have a talk [to the match officials] about that.
“We need a fair deal. All we ask is just a fair deal. I hope we’ll get it.”
“There’s a lot of things they get away with, more than other teams get away with – like the hit on the left-hand side on the loosehead,”
And it appears that the Crusaders have taken the bait, particularly over loosehead Joe Moody.
Assistant coach Jason Ryan on Friday launched a staunch defence of his player “I have heard it all before and it always comes up just before, usually, when we name Joe Moody – just because he is the best in the world.”
“All I know that is when Joe is at his best, there are not may tighthead props, if any, that can hold him down.
“It is more than just Joe. We have to back that our strength as an eight will be good enough.”
And Ryan unloaded a cutting observation of his own, on Lions tighthead Ruan Dreyer.
“[We] are going up against one of the most penalised tightheads in Super Rugby for two years running. We have got our plan, we know what we want to do. We just want to hit square, we want play channel one, that is what we have done all year and get the ball to the backs.”
The stats appear to back up Ryan somewhat, he’s been pinged by the referee 19 times in 17 Super Rugby games this season. The contest between Moody and Dreyer may be one for referee Gardner and his assistants Glen Jackson and Nic Berry to closely monitor.
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