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Rivals set to meet with match officials

The coaches of the All Blacks and Springboks are to have an unprecedented meeting with match officials ahead of tomorrow's Tri Nations clash.

The injured South African captain John Smit, right, with teammate Jean de Villiers has criticised the tactics of New Zealand ahead of tomorrow's Tri Nations game.
The injured South African captain John Smit, right, with teammate Jean de Villiers has criticised the tactics of New Zealand ahead of tomorrow's Tri Nations game.

WELLINGTON // The coaches of the All Blacks and Springboks are to have an unprecedented meeting with match officials ahead of tomorrow's Tri Nations clash. The coaches Graham Henry and Peter de Villiers will meet with the referee Matt Goddard to discuss issues that have arisen since New Zealand's 19-8 win in Wellington last Saturday, the Dominion Post newspaper reported yesterday.

South Africa's de Villiers called New Zealand's scrummaging in the match illegal, prompting an angry response from New Zealand scrum coach Mike Cron, while the injured Proteas captain John Smit had said the officials favoured the All Blacks. Smit was injured when he was picked up and unceremoniously dumped by Brad Thorn after an incident at a ruck and will miss the game in Dunedin. Thorn was later suspended for a week for the incident, but Smit said: "One almost gets the idea that anyone who is not from New Zealand does not have the same rights as someone who plays for the All Blacks."

De Villiers also said the tactics of All Blacks loosehead prop Tony Woodcock were illegal, claiming he would step outside the line of the scrum to change the angle of the engagement then use it to bore in on his opposite. Cron, however, said Woodcock was not doing what de Villiers claimed and anyone who did engage in "stepping around" would be easily spotted by officials. "I try and teach our scrum coaches in New Zealand to be purists of the art of scrummaging."

The New Zealand coach Henry also fired back at the South Africans, claiming that flyhalf Daniel Carter had been the target of several off-the-ball incidents, including a number of shuddering late tackles by Butch James. * Reuters ShowSports 2, 11.30am, Sat