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Ex-South Africa Head Coach responds ‘Lividly’ With Referee After Ireland Win

In the dying seconds of the Springboks’ 13-8 Rugby World Cup loss to Ireland, former South Africa head coach Nick Mallett claimed he was “absolutely livid” at referee Ben O’Keeffe.

Late in the game, South Africa should have received penalties, according to Mallett and his fellow SuperSport pundits Victor Matfield and Lukhanyo Am, but the New Zealand official decided to side with Ireland.

“I’m still fed up,” said Mallett.

“We missed four field goal attempts for a total of 11 points. One of our lineout throws for a driving maul went awry at a distance of 10 meters from their line.

Then, quite simply, Ben O’Keeffe made a few decisions at the conclusion of the game that prevented us from winning.

Referee O’Keeffe blew the full-time whistle following South Africa’s driving maul from a lineout in the game’s final play because he believed the ball was not going to the Springboks’ side.

Matfield, who earned 127 caps for South Africa, said Tadhg Beirne should have been given a penalty.

Regarding the maul, Matfield remarked, “It was well set.”

“That fourth person (Tadhg Beirne) was swinging around and in that place. He genuinely prevented Deon (Fourie) from receiving the ball again. That was unquestionably a punishment for us.

“And the ball is emerging.” The ball is visible to [Ben O’Keeffe]. He must let go of that. He needs to allow us to play there.

“I believe [Tadhg Beirne] was initially in the incorrect position, and that should have been a penalty to us,” the speaker said.

“I was absolutely furious when I was watching this,” Mallett continued. The breakdown really angered me as well.

Five minutes before the game’s conclusion, there was a breakdown, but it was simply a dog show, so the referee let it go on. He simply let it go despite Irish players being on the incorrect side of the ball.

Without a doubt, that was a punishment for us. At the very end of the game, we simply didn’t receive the calls.

Injury-related withdrawal from the competition caused Lukhanyo Am to say he didn’t “want to blame the ref but we need more consistency.”

Am responded to Mallett’s breakdown by saying, “You can’t touch the nine in an offside position.

“He just let it go. It was a crucial moment. It was a momentum swinger. We ended up under pressure in our 22 after that.”


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