Stormers demand fair refereeing against Chiefs

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 09:34 13/03/2014
Stormers
Joseph Johnson/www.photosport.co.nz
ILLEGAL: The Stormers are demanding the rucks be policed with an eagle eye against the Chiefs tomorrow night.

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The Stormers are demanding the rucks be policed with an eagle eye in tomorrow night's Super Rugby clash with the Chiefs in Hamilton - or they'll take matters into their own hands.

They are concerned the Chiefs will adopt the same "illegal" tactics the South Africans encountered in their loss to the Crusaders last weekend.

Coach Allister Coetzee and skipper Jean de Villiers went on the offensive ahead of what promises to be a torrid battle up front at Waikato Stadium.

They claim the New Zealand sides are guilty of off the ball holding of players at ruck situations.

That was highlighted in their clash with the Crusaders when a frustrated Schalk Burger lashed out with fists at a ruck as his jersey was held by a Crusaders forward.

"It is a very tough thing (holding) to handle, and you want to keep the game clean," De Villiers told South African media, looking into the Chiefs clash where he will play his 100th Super Rugby game.

"So either the ref needs to do something about it or we (players) need to do something about it, and then it can get messy."

The Stormers intend to raise the matter with South African referee Craig Joubert ahead of the match.

But it promises to be a powder-keg issue in their eyes.

"I am definitely going to speak to Craig about it and I can tell you that I am going to be hard on his case throughout the game," he said.

Coetzee claimed the Crusaders owned up to the tactic, though it's hard to believe this act of gamesmanship is restricted to New Zealand teams.

"When I chatted with the Crusaders management after the game they admitted the off-the-ball stuff around the ruck was a tactic they've adopted," Coetzee said.

"They were open about it and said the Chiefs used the same tactics against them. We know it is going to happen again this week and we hope that the referee and his officials will sort it out.

"I will definitely talk to Craig Joubert about it before the game. Who is going to deal with it if the officials do not?"

De Villiers has declared this a "must-win match" for his team and says his players are motivated by playing the defending champions on their home stadium.

The Chiefs, who have had two squeaky wins are coming off a bye that has allowed them to boost their playing stocks, returning several injured players to their match-day squad.

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