CAPE TOWN – The new law variations in the Rainbow Cup SA already caused some confusion and controversy on Saturday, and Bulls coach Jake White says he does not agree with some of the rules being trialled.
In the match between the Stormers and Sharks at Cape Town Stadium, Lukhanyo Am used a captain’s challenge for a high tackle by Willie Engelbrecht on Ruben van Heerden, and it proved successful as referee Jaco Peyper issued a yellow card.
It had a detrimental effect on the home side in the second half, when No 8 Engelbrecht received a second yellow, which became a red, for another high tackle.
That, coupled with Seabelo Senatla’s first-half red card for taking out Aphelele Fassi in the air, meant that the Stormers played large parts of the match with 14 men in a 33-30 defeat.
At Loftus Versfeld, the Bulls missed out on a try late in the game when Madosh Tambwe was denied following a captain’s challenge from Lions skipper Dan Kriel, which found that there was a skew throw-in at the lineout. According to Blue Bulls president Willem Strauss, it is the third time that Tambwe has had a touchdown ruled out since moving to Pretoria.
Apart from the captain’s challenge, other new variations include a goal-line drop-out for the defending team instead of a five-metre scrum for the attacking side, and a player who has been red-carded can be replaced by a substitute after 20 minutes.
“It’s something that I have to get used to. I didn’t enjoy the captain’s referrals all the time. And I don’t particularly enjoy the fact that you carry over the ball and you get a goal-line drop-out,” White said.
“But again, it’s because I’ve probably been so used to the fact that the laws haven’t been like that, and so, it isn’t ideal.
“Again, with the red card (to the Stormers’ Engelbrecht), there is a massive push now for players to abide by the laws – change their height when they go into contact, both defensively and attacking-wise.
“I suppose we know today, it was evident in the fact that if you’re not going to do it (abide by those laws), you are going to get found out. It’s something we are working hard on – breakdown-wise, carrying low, defensively… making sure you change your body heights.
“If it’s going to speed up the game and make the game safer, then… we want young boys to play rugby, and we don’t want mums to say they can’t play rugby because it’s dangerous.
“If that means we are going to grow our game, then yes, I am in favour of those sorts of nuances and strict protocols when it comes to head injuries, etc.”