McKenzie denies maul mischief

Date published: September 25 2014

Australia head coach Ewen McKenzie took strong opposition to claims in Thursday’s press conference over bending the rules at the maul.

Described by a prominent South African reporter as “getting away with a bit” when it came to how the Wallabies stopped “a traditional Springbok weapon” the last time the two teams met earlier this month, McKenzie interrupted to rebuff the claim and express his disagreement.

“You can say that but I don’t agree. We defended the maul how you defend a maul,” said McKenzie.

“You can sit around and have a technical analysis about it, and obviously there’s a fair bit of talk because the referee’s in town so everyone wants to talk and create a bit of innuendo.

“We defended it legitimately – you can sack the maul and we sacked it, that’s what you do. You get the opportunity to do it and we did it.

“If you get the video out you can find lots of things that you can argue technically – the scrum, maul – but we did what you can legitimately do.

“The referee is there to interpret those moments and that’s the game. I can give you a thousand scenarios, but there’s nothing different in this game to any other week. The contest is the same.”

Australia’s pack held firm in their win over Argentina a fortnight ago and in fact won the penalty count battle 10-14 when they faced South Africa in Perth, as the visitors also conceded three more turnovers.

The criticism is likely to further fire up the Wallabies pack ahead of a testing encounter at Newlands, with Saia Fainga’a returning at hooker for his first start since 2010.

The other changes see Joe Tomane and Adam Ashley-Cooper occupy both wing slots. Benn Robinson also returns to the Australian bench in place of Pek Cowan.

by Ben Coles