The Cheetahs have expressed their frustration over referee Stuart Berry’s handling of their match against the Sharks at Kings Park on Saturday.
Berry was particularly lenient on the Sharks when he opted against awarding a penalty try despite the fact that the home team’s scrum came under immense pressure while prop Beast Mtawarira was in the sin bin.
At the time, the Cheetahs led 7-3, but while Berry repeatedly penalised the Sharks, he decided that a penalty try was not warranted, and ultimately the Durban-based side came away without conceding any points.
Ironically, later in the game, it was from a free kick Berry awarded to the Sharks at scrum time that led to an opportunity for JP Pietersen to score a try that suddenly sent them into a 10-7 lead at the break.
It served as a decisive momentum swing, and in the end the Sharks did enough to come away with a 26-10 win, while condemning the Cheetahs to their 10th loss of the season.
On Monday, the Cheetahs confirmed via a post on their Facebook page that they had laid official complaints with Sanzaar and SA Rugby.
‘Since Saturday’s match we have been inundated with reaction from fans over the handling of the match by referee Stuart Berry. We share the frustration. The necessary procedures have been followed and the coaches and management have made their grievances felt at Sanzaar and SA Rugby. It is now in their hands to take the matter further. There are measures taken against referees if there is sufficient cause and reason for action.’
After the clash, SuperSport analyst and former Springbok coach Nick Mallett was one of the pundits to question the officiating of Berry.
‘Berry saw a different picture to me. Coenie Oosthuizen was under tremendous pressure at the scrum, going sideways and backwards. His knees were on the ground, the Cheetahs were going forward and the only reason they didn't score is because the Sharks collapsed the scrum.
‘There was no reason to go back for another [third] penalty for the Cheetahs, it should have been a penalty try. Berry said there was no possibility of a penalty try because the Cheetahs weren’t going forward, but you cannot go forward if the opposition front row is lying on the ground.’
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images