Thursday, March 08, 2012

Crusaders not wary of whistle in tackle area TONY SMITH 07/03/2012

The Crusaders won't be gun-shy at the breakdown against the Chiefs on Friday night, despite a tendency for teams in possession to be penalised at the tackle area.
In the first two Super 15 rounds, New Zealand referees haven't been slow to ping players for going off their feet and sealing off the ball.
The Chiefs were deemed to be culprits in their 29-14 win over the Blues with coach Dave Rennie and captain Craig Clarke perturbed at the 16-4 penalty count against them.
Rennie said he was not disputing the accuracy of most of the calls against the Chiefs.
"But it seemed to be going one way," he said. "I'm trying to be tactful here but we got penalised in possession when we were going forward, for hands on the ground and things like that but we were the only side that got penalised for that tonight and a penalty count of 16-4 [in favour of the Blues] is a massive concern for us."
Coach Todd Blackadder said sealing off hadn't been a problem for the Crusaders, "because we haven't been in a position to hold on to the ball".
"Every game is slightly different but at the weekend we didn't get penalised for sealing off and I don't think [the Highlanders] did either.
"We got penalised for hands [in the ruck] and not releasing the ball carrier. I don't think it's been a problem so far.
"We've got so much more to focus on than that one area of the game. If we do everything well, hopefully it will negate those little technical things such as sealing off the ball."
Crusaders halfback Andy Ellis said it could take four or five rounds before the ruck situation settles down. He said the key was "adjusting" to each referee.
"We have refs come in during the pre-season and off-season and talk to us about what they're going to focus on and the key things they've been told to look for.
"In the early rounds of Super rugby, they're just trying to find a bit of a median.
"They've been told to penalise anyone who can't support their own body weight over the ruck. Some referees are pinging a lot and some are just letting the game flow and play [on].
"You've got to adjust a little to each referee. As we get into round four or five and everyone's watching each other, and they get a little bit of a feel for what's acceptable and what's not, it won't be till then that we really know how to control that ruck."

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