Two cited after spiteful Waratahs loss
March 30, 2014
Tempers flare during a feisty encounter © Getty Images
Wallabies winger Rob Horne and Springboks inside centre Francois Steyn are both facing possible suspensions following the New South Wales Waratahs' spiteful 32-10 Super Rugby loss to the ladder-leading Sharks in Durban.
Horne has been charged by the citing commissioner with striking after setting the tone for the fiery encounter when he caught Steyn high with a swinging arm in the 16th minute, initially escaping with just a warning from referee Mike Fraser. Steyn is charged with a dangerous tackle after backslamming Waratahs centre Kurtley Beale eight minutes later, forcing him off the field for a short time for a concussion test.
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika was left mystified by a match-turning decision by Fraser to sin-bin Tahs captain Dave Dennis for a push at a scrum in the 48th minute of a match featuring plenty of niggle. The Sharks took immediate advantage of the extra man to score through hooker Bismarck du Plessis and put the match virtually out of reach at 19-3.
Cheika was struggling to explain how his team ended up on the end of a 20-9 penalty count - and were punished so heavily in the scrum - when asked if Fraser failed to keep a lid on rising tensions.
"With everything that went on we had a player sent to the sin-bin for pushing. You can make what you want of that," Cheika said. "It's obvious. You can't give away 22 penalties and win a game away from home. It's impossible."
Cheika acknowledged his side's inability to build pressure as well as two missed penalty kicks in the first half, also cost them any chance of pulling off a major scalp on the road and returning to the top of the Australian Conference.
When told of Cheika's thoughts on the crippling penalty count that went against the visitors, former Brumbies coach White continued a feud by baiting his NSW counterpart.
"Whatever Michael Cheika says, we believe, don't we?" said White, lighting the fuse should the two heavyweight sides meet again come finals time. "There had been a lot of talk in the media about [going] toe to toe and intensity and aggression, so I suppose I must thank Mike [Cheika] for making my team talk easier. I just put it all on the board."
White also couldn't resist poking fun at Cheika over breaking a glass pane at Canberra Stadium two weeks ago. "I just want to see if our coaches' box is still alright, because I have to get (chief executive John Smit) to get some insurance for it," he said.
Israel Folau's absence at the back was telling as the Waratahs failed to make the most of some prime first-half chances, but Cheika is confident the star fullback will recover from a throat injury in time to lead NSW into battle against the Stormers in Cape Town next week.
During the match, Sharks skipper du Plessis asked the referees to watch for Waratahs players punching in the tackle, while NSW's South African-born lock Jacques Potgieter was warned for the manner in which he was cannoning into the ruck. In the end it was the slightest push from Dennis to Jannie du Plessis at a scrum which brought about the first and only yellow card - even though the Sharks prop retaliated with an even firmer shove.
With Dennis off the field, Cheika stormed down from his box to the sideline to deliver a direct message to defensive coach Nathan Grey, but denied claims made in television commentary that he also exchanged words with the assistant referees. Cheika gave full marks to his side for their intensity but said the Waratahs must get better at delivering under pressure.
"When the level goes up we've got to make sure we bring our accuracy as well as our intensity," he said. "It's just a learning curve for us."
Bernard Foley scored a late consolation try, while Tatafu Polota-Nau left the field early with a neck problem, but should be fine to take on the Stormers.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Communication error please reload the page.
Daniel Ricciardo said being lapped by race winner and former team-mate Sebastian Vettel was "the icing on the cake" after another frustrating race for Red Bull in Malaysia
James Allison is not convinced Ferrari will be able to repeat its performance in Malaysia at the Chinese Grand Prix in two weeks
Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene never doubted Sebastian Vettel could be a contender in Malaysia but he says Ferrari must not get carried away with one victory
Pastor Maldonado has been handed three penalty points to his super licence for exceeding the speed limit under the safety car at the Malaysian Grand Prix
Alexis Sanchez says he is loving playing for Arsenal in the Premier League
In the latest edition of ESPN's Week in Words, Dion Dublin makes something of a career change, RFU officials have some harsh words for the national team, and Kell Brook is eyeing a bigger prize...
Miroslav Klose scored goals in the World Cup final tournaments of 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014. Has anyone else scored World Cup goals 12 years apart?
Mudslinging and an agreement on something that will never happen, it's all in a day's work for a Formula One boss, as Maurice Hamilton explains...
Who has driven in the most GPs before taking pole position?
Fallout continues from the NSW-Brumbies derby, with one Tahs forward - not Potgieter - surprised by other unsavoury comments during the game, Greg Growden reports
Kevin De Bruyne would consider a move back to Chelsea despite barely featuring in his time at Stamford Bridge, sources told ESPN
England manager Roy Hodgson confirmed that Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck will miss Tuesday's international friendly against Italy with injury, while Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling will also be excused from the game in Turin
Chelsea forward Eden Hazard believes playing in the Premier League has made him a better player
Phil Jones appears to be facing a race against time to be fit for Manchester United's Champions League clash with Real Madrid after missing training on Monday
Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck has pulled out of the England squad because of a knee injury he suffered in Friday's 4-0 win over Lithuania
Who has driven in the most GPs before taking pole position?
Everton defender Phil Jagielka is to have surgery on a badly gashed ankle, manager David Moyes has confirmed
Unbeaten heavyweight Dillian Whyte, 28, (14-0, 11 KOs) tells ESPN where his rivalry with Anthony Joshua stems from and outlines the plan for his career this year after returning from a doping ban in November
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner
Who was the first Briton to win the British Grand Prix?