Saturday, June 23, 2007

Timing was not quite right ( also on Yahoo Xtra),,14646-7521930,00.html
as McCaw keen to avoid yellow cards



Richie McCaw is confident he won't be a shiny beacon for trigger happy rugby referees this year after being sent to the naughty corner twice during the Rebel Sport Super 14.

The All Blacks captain returns to the starting 15 after a break on the bench against Canada chasing a repeat of his first Test as skipper in South Africa -- a slick 45-26 win in Pretoria last August.

There are just six survivors in each starting 15 from that match. The returning All Blacks are McCaw, Anton Oliver, Greg Rawlinson, Dan Carter, Sitiveni Sivivatu and Mils Muliaina.

Along with fellow Philips Tri Nations flankers Schalk Burger and George Smith a master at the contest for possession at the breakdown, McCaw has been accused of pushing the laws to the limit.

During Super 14 he was sinbinned for a deliberate knock-on against the Brumbies and for pulling down a maul against Bulls.

Under more scrutiny in World Cup year?

"I got a couple of yellow cards in Rebel Sport Super 14 but it wasn't because refs were looking at me more. I made mistakes and my timing wasn't quite right," McCaw said.

"I don't think it's any different to the past and I hope there's no preconceived ideas. You never really know but I haven't felt that anyway."

The All Blacks rate the referee for Sunday's (NZT) Tri Nations Test against the Springboks, Irishman Alain Rolland, one of their favourite whistlers.

Assistant coach Wayne Smith was confident the match wouldn't be dominated by the whistle and be decided by penalty kicks. A fine day and mid-20degC temperatures are forecast.

"He's one of the top two refs in the world at the moment. He's his own man, he's decisive and we're happy to have him. I'm sure the Boks are as well," Smith said.

But the locals weren't so sure. A journalist was quick to remind Smith of the statistic that the Springboks have lost four of their five Tests with Rolland in charge.

"Beautiful. That's the kind of stat I like," Smith said.

"I'm sure it wasn't the ref's fault though."


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