Jake White concedes penalties issue
April 27, 2013
George Smith is hugely influential for the Brumbies © Getty Images
Brumbies coach Jake White concedes he has to address the number of the penalties his team gives away. The Brumbies have given away more penalties than any other Super Rugby team in 2013, and they conceded another 16 in defeating Western Force at Canberra Stadium.
But White does not believe his team is "dirty" or "cynical"; rather he believes they are being penalised for contesting fiercely at the breakdown. "I am not concerned about the penalty count, but it is something I'm going to have to address," White said in a post-match interview on Fox Sports. "Every time I ask the referees, and [referees chief] Lyndon Bray, I say is there a trend that we need to look at. We'll do whatever they say we've got to do but I just feel at times that if you have a crack at the ball, you get penalised. If you going to have a player like George Smith in your ranks and the window's open, you should be rewarded for the time he gets to the breakdown. And there's times I think we probably don't get just reward. It's a contest at the breakdown, and we should be rewarded for those."
Smith, himself, said the breakdown against the Force had been a tough battle because the visitors had "two specialist breakdown fetchers in Chris Alcock and Matt Hodgson". Smith said: "It was always going to be tough in that area but I think we got continuity in the ball control and I'm very pleased with the effort."
White was pleased, in particular, that his team has been able to play with more attacking intent after their strong defensive effort against Queensland Reds the previous week. "It happened by default last week," he said. "We didn't get much ball and then we got pinned back in our own half and obviously defensively you had to applaud that effort. There was a lot of talk afterwards that we didn't try to run everywhere, but it's very difficult when you're behind your own goal-line. This week, the intensity's been up and the boys put the hard yards in and we spoke a lot about this is when you got to get the graph going upwards. If you want to win the competition, these are the sort of stages you've got to look like you can win it; to make a statement like that in winning like we did is very pleasing."
White praised the form of Jesse Mogg, Henry Speight and Joe Tomane. "Henry Speight is a try-scoring machine, and he's played really well this year. Joe Tomane, his transition from rugby league last year to what he's doing now in rugby union speaks wonders for the effort he's put in. And Jesse, everyone knows about Jesse now: he's got a great left boot and the way he joins the line and the way he controls things from behind is very pleasing."
Smith, meanwhile, praised the leadership of teammate and Wallabies contender Ben Mowen, saying "the way he's captaining the side and leading the guys around is quite special".
The Brumbies impressed in dismantling Western Force (video available only in Australia)
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