Super 12 coaches take off the gloves
May 24, 2000
Exasperated ACT Brumbies coach Eddie Jones has turned the heat back on the Crusaders, questioning their lineout tactics ahead of Saturday's Super 12 rugby final in Canberra.
Jones is tired of opposing teams continually querying the legality of the Brumbies' methods in recent weeks, seeing it as an obvious attempt to influence the referee. When Crusaders coach Robbie Deans tried it again on Tuesday - raising the old concerns about the Brumbies' use of decoy runners and adding a new claim of illegal scrum tactics - Jones fired right back, pointing the finger at the Crusaders' lineout.
"I think it's pretty disappointing that coaches are bringing that out in a public forum and using it as a way to pressure referees," Jones said. "It's happened over the past four or five weeks and there seems to be a particular concentration on us."
Jones said he'd urge South African referee Andre Watson to keep an eye on the lineouts, believing the Crusaders, like semi-final opponent the Cats, were sending in additional men at the last moment.
"We believe it is illegal what they're doing," Jones said. "We're hopeful the referee will have a look at that. We'll definitely discuss it with Andre before the game but it seems to me that the coaches would rather discuss it in the public forum."
The Brumbies' decoy tactics in attack have come under the microscope before, with Cats' coach Laurie Mains questioning their legality on several occasions.
"There's no doubt in my mind that they do have an intention to create an advantage by the positioning of their support players," Deans said on Tuesday. He cited an instance against the Cats on Saturday.
"You only have to look at that last try. Have a look at (centre Rod) Kafer. The line he took was bizarre, to say the least. What was he trying to do, other than the fact that he intended to inhibit the ability of the defence to defend."
Deans also targeted the scrum tactics used by the Brumbies in their 17-12 round robin win over the Crusaders two weeks ago.
"They used illegal binding methods to gain an advantage and they were successful at it," he said. "They don't employ them all the time. They are clever as to when they use them. The timing of them makes it so difficult to police."
Jones said the Crusaders should be looking at their own technique before firing verbal missiles at the Brumbies.
"We're probably the least penalised scrum in the competition whereas Canterbury are the most penalised scrum in the competition, so we'll let the referee adjudicate on that," he said.
Brumbies forwards coach Ewin McKenzie said Deans should also be more specific with his scrummaging allegations.
"Find me a scrum and I'll find you a penalty," he said. "Our scrummaging approach has been the same all year so obviously it's been interpreted by the referees all year and we haven't had too many dramas all year, so it's business as usual."
The Brumbies have named a squad of 25 for the match but Jones declined to nominate a starting line-up, as per Super 12 rules.
"We're a very law-abiding team - we do everything the Super 12 tells us to do," he quipped.
SQUAD: (Forwards) Bill Young, Patricio Noriega, Ben Darwin, Tom Murphy, Jeremy Paul, David Giffin, Troy Jaques, Justin Harrison, Peter Ryan, Brett Robinson, George Smith, Radike Samo, Ipolito Fenukitau, Jim Williams. (Backs) George Gregan, Travis Hall, Stephen Larkham, Joe Roff, Rod Kafer, Mark Bartholomeusz, Craig McMullen, James Holbeck, Mitch Hardy, Stirling Mortlock, Andrew Walker.
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