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Shots fired! Lions coach De Bruin accuses referees of Crusaders bias

The Emirates Lions head coach Swys de Bruin and his players assemble for a short prayer ahead of their Super Rugby semifinal match against the Waratahs at Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg on July 28 2018.
The Emirates Lions head coach Swys de Bruin and his players assemble for a short prayer ahead of their Super Rugby semifinal match against the Waratahs at Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg on July 28 2018.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Lions coach Swys de Bruin has urged Australian referee Angus Gardner and his assistants to give his team a ‘fair deal’ in Saturday’s Super Rugby final against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

De Bruin‚ and he’s not the first coach to bemoan the point‚ will ask the officials to apply the letter of the law in the way they police the offside line.

The offside line is an imaginary line and the Crusaders often stand accused of treating it as such.

“I’ve got to have a good meeting with the refs before the game‚” said De Bruin.

“The offside line applies to both sides.

"They can’t be champions and because people think they are good they get away with certain stuff.

"I’ll make sure we’ll talk to the refs about that.

“There’s a lot of stuff they get away with‚ more than other teams get away with.

"Like the offside line. Like the hit on the left hand side of the scrum with the loosehead.

“We need a fair deal. I hope we’ll get it‚” said De Bruin.

When the referees appointments were announced for the semi-finals last week‚ Gardner’s name did not feature.

It was assumed he would be awarded the final and that was duly confirmed later in the week.

“I was a bit‚” said De Bruin when asked whether he found the early timing of the appointment surprising.

“I was hoping for a South African AR (assistant referee) at least.

"I don’t want to say too much about that but it looks like there has been a change in the system.

“We are not looking at that as a concern. But it is something I have to address.

“If the officials stay in the moment we’ll have a good game‚” said De Bruin.

Equally‚ from a physiological perspective De Bruin will also hope his team can start the game on an equal footing.

Earlier this season they overcame jet lag by operating on the South African time zone in the build-up which helped set up a win over the Waratahs in Sydney.

By doing everything eight hours later than they would ordinarily‚ the Lions who departed for Sydney late that week‚ circumvented the debilitating effects of jet lag in the match.

They beat the Waratahs 29-0 on that occasion but they were quick to admit the bounce of the ball favoured them that day.

With Christchurch two more hours removed from the South African time zone‚ it would have been impractical for the team to adopt a similar plan this week.

They will however apply a variation thereof by going to bed and getting up later.

They will only arrive at their hotel in the early hours of Wednesday morning in Christchurch.

They will have only one training session before their Captain’s Run on Friday.

“I know it is a cliché but less is more now‚” said De Bruin.

“We’ve already gone through a lot of stuff (on Monday).

"We’ll have one training session down there and that’s it.”

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