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Ex-Springboks coach Nick Mallett accuses URC referees of only looking at South African teams

Nick Mallett referees

Nick Mallett has argued that referees in the United Rugby Championship are paying more attention to infractions that South African teams are making.

The South African sides have endured a tough start to life in the URC, having won just four of their 12 matches between them, with some of their head coaches admitting struggling to adapt to European weather and referee interpretations.

While the four South African clubs’ underwhelming performances can be attributed to a number of factors – they are currently without their Springboks players and have yet to play at home – Mallett believes the officiating is a major issue.

Former Springboks head coach Mallett was speaking on Super Sport about the performance of the officials in games involving South African sides so far and claimed that the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers and Lions have been unfairly treated.

Nick Mallett on referees in the URC.

“The referees that we’ve had, I honestly think that they spend the first 20 minutes of the game only looking at the South African side,” Mallett argued.

“It’s not that they don’t find fault. It’s that they find fault only with one team. When you’ve got a breakdown you’ve got to look at 50 per cent of what they do and 50 per cent of what [the other] team does.

“You can’t just look at one team because referees will always find fault if you just look at one team.”

Stormers head coach has raised issues with the officials.

Stormers head coach John Dobson didn’t go as far as Mallett in suggesting that referees in the URC were only looking to penalise South African sides, but he did raise a number of interesting differences between officiating in the northern and southern hemispheres.

Dobson explained recently to Premier Sports that his players were struggling to understand the referees’ interpretations around some areas in the game, and also said that his side have had no interaction with referees in the week of the game.

The Stormers have improved since Dobson’s comments after the second round of the URC, having won one and drawn one of their last two games since then, which has taken them to the top of the tournament’s South African shield.

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