'Two rule books': Frustration growing over Bulls' non-try as losses pile up for SA teams
Edinburgh scored an important win when held out against a hard-charging Bulls team in their Round Four encounter on Saturday to win 17-10 over the visiting South Africans.
The teams scored one try each, but three first-half penalties by Edinburgh’s South African-born, Scottish flyhalf Jaco van der Walt proved to be the difference as Edinburgh captalised on ruck penalties issued quickly from the whistle of Ben Whitehouse. An early Henry Immelman try, the Van der Walt penalties gave the home team a 14-3 lead.
Try as they might, including a Marcell Coetzee try 10 minutes from time, the Bulls just could not close the gap.
It looked like wing Madosh Tambwe had scored an incredible try from a Morne Steyn cross-field kick three minutes from time which would have set up a potential tying-conversion for Steyn to square the scores, but referee Ben Whitehouse chalked it off for a double movement after a trip to the TMO.
The TMO’s decision continued the woes of the South African teams in the URC, where each of the four teams have just one win from their first four outings at a win rate of 25 per cent.
They have a combined record of 4 wins, 1 draw and 11 losses in their first season of European rugby where they have been on the road for the first month.
Fans of the South African teams have been very concerned about the officiating in the United Rugby Championship, with the overturning of the Bulls’ try to Tambwe due to a double movement the latest incident to rattle the nerves.
The reaction was not muted, with claims the Bulls ‘were scammed’ by ‘daylight robbery’ and concerns over ‘two rule books’, one for the European teams and one for the South African teams.
— Percivale Young (@Percyoung) October 16, 2021
— Khuboni (@Rugga_Head) October 16, 2021
If it was international match. The ref would of said : “Find me a reason not to reward the try “. The TMOs would tell him there is no reason to reward the try. Absolute rubbish call. Bulls were scammed. #EDIvBUL #SSRugby
— MKR Cinema (@MKRCINEMA) October 16, 2021
A try scored by the Bulls but the European refs did everything possible to turn it around.
— Thulani Sejo (@thulanisejo) October 16, 2021
Yet another poor performance from the northern hemisphere Referees there, its like they have been given two rule books, one for the the north and the second one how to blow everything the south does but not the north #URC #EDIvBUL #ULSvLIO #SSblitz
— Just Someone (@Leo99Meyer) October 16, 2021
Referee gets man of the match on behalf of Edinburgh #EDIvBUL
— burningman (@simonhurry) October 16, 2021
— Christopher (@Christo79744616) October 16, 2021
The Director of Rugby in your country condemns referees, and then the SA fans wonder why refs then show a bias to whoever the saffa club teams are facing. The phrase don’t bite the hand that feeds you comes to mind. #URC #EDIvBUL
— Struan Dickson (@StruanDickson) October 16, 2021
That was a try! The refs is blowing the bulls out of the games! All the 50/50 calls are going against the south african teams!!! The refs are not poor they are sly!!!! #URC #EDIBUL #EDIvBUL #SSRugby #Vodacom
— Dean van den Maak (@den_maak9) October 16, 2021
— Andrew H (@andrewhobbs89) October 16, 2021
Writing for Sport24, South African writer Khanyiso Tshwaku described the officiating as ‘wonky’ that enabled Edinburgh to get control of the match and take advantage of those situations.
“That the hosts were deserving winners shouldn’t be disputed, especially with how the game unfolded in the second half,” he wrote.
“However, the officiating left plenty to be desired and the Bulls will have every reason to feel aggrieved.
“Whitehouse’s officiating allowed Edinburgh to not only get the leg up from a points perspective through Jaco van der Walt’s penalties, but the freedom of the breakdown.
“If the Bulls infringed, a shrill blast would resonate around the ground, but nothing when the hosts were the infringers. The one-eyed officiating forced the Bulls into an enterprising style of rugby that avoided going to the ground.”
The Bulls were hoping to secure their second win of the four-game road trip, after mounting a comeback last week to beat Cardiff.
They had opened their tour with two heavy defeats to Irish teams Leinster and Connacht, going down 31-3 and 34-7.
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