De Villiers hits out at SA referees

Peter de Villiers has slammed the quality of South Africa’s referees after his EP Elephants suffered their third heavy defeat in the Preparation Series on Wednesday evening.

Griquas used the power of their pack to outmuscle the EP Elephants and claim a 43-0 victory in a rescheduled match in Gqeberha on Wednesday evening.

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It was the Elephants’ third heavy loss, after they were beaten 54-24 by a young Lions team and 87-10 by the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria.

In Wednesday night’s match the Elephants also lost a third player to a red card in as many games, after wing Riaan Arends was sent off for a petulant stamp on a prone opponent in the second half.

This came after No 8 Zingisa April was yellow-carded in the first half after conceding a penalty try for collapsing a Griquas maul.

Speaking after the game, EP coach De Villiers lashed out at not only referee Cwengile Jadezweni – who officiated their game against Griquas – but the standard of South African referees in general.

‘It’s not just last night’s referee,’ De Villiers said. ‘These are South Africa’s referees in general. I get the feeling that some referees go on to the field with a preconceived attitude.

‘Take the game against Griquas. I don’t think the first yellow card [to April] should have been one. I think the referee should have warned us first.

‘When you look at our matches, it’s like the 50-50 decisions are always against us. Look at how other teams get away with things that we are penalised for at the breakdowns.’

De Villiers added that Arends was provoked by Griquas wing Enver Brandt, but deserved to be sent off.

‘If you only look at the footage and not the incident as a whole, then it is correct that he was punished. But if you look at how [Brandt] pulls Arends’ jersey, then you get a different insight. [Brandt] started it and Arends lost his balance. Where did he have to go?’

De Villiers made a similar complaint after last week’s loss to the Lions, where both CJ Velleman and lock Arnold Kleyn were red-carded.

‘Since 1960, what has changed about the game? Nothing,’ he said. ‘The game is still the same. People swear, kick each other, dive into each other, the game is still the same, but the rules keep changing.

‘The Bible says you cannot put new wine in an old wineskin. They have to stop changing the rules, because they are confusing the referees.’

Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix