22 Jun 2009

Referee Laurence gets a blast from Lions

6:28 am on 22 June 2009

New Zealand rugby referee Bryce Laurence has been blasted by the British and Irish Lions management for his interpretation of the scrum rules during the team's 26-21 loss to the South Africa .

Lions captain Paul O'Connell says a string of penalties against prop Phil Vickery virtually cost his side the game.

In spite of Laurence's penalty blitz, the Lions outscored the Springboks three tries to two and coach Ian McGeechan says his team could still have won easily.

South Africa used a dominant scrum and superb driving mauls to gain their early control, with loosehead Tendai Mtawarira giving Phil Vickery a torrid time and Smit having no problems adapting to his move from hooker to tighthead.

Lions coach Ian McGeechan and captain Paul O'Connell had a different view of the scrum, where they were bemused by New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence's penalty count against them.

McGeechan says the issue will be raised through the refereeing protocol, where both teams' observations are reviewed by the IRB's referee manager Paddy O'Brien.

The Lions had two tries ruled out by the TV match official and just missed another when the ball was knocked out of winger Ugo Monye's hands as he dived for the line.