Stormers coach John Dobson lamented the pair of red cards that cost his team dearly in their Rainbow Cup SA match against the Sharks.
Seabelo Senatla saw a straight red for taking Aphelele Fassi out in the air and Willie Engelbrecht earned two yellow cards which saw him banished as well.
The Stormers could replace the players after 20 minutes but spent half the match short-handed and as a result couldn’t play the game Dobson hoped for.
After leading 17-0 and then 23-12 at the break, the Stormers conceded 21 unanswered points in the second half before a Damian Willemse score made the finish interesting. The Sharks hung on to claim a 33-30 win which Dobson feels was lucky. The coach says that the Stormers know where the blame lies as their discipline let them down.
“I think we were unlucky to lose it, but we know why we did and it’s our own fault,’ Dobson said after the match.
“It was woeful. I don’t know if we’ve even had a red card before, so to give away two in one game was remarkable. It cost us massively,” Dobson said.
“When we went from 15 men to 13 within minutes, we had to start taking time off the game. We were playing with a nice rhythm and awareness on attack,we were playing with a good energy. We then had to take that energy out.
“I don’t think we ever recovered that energy until those last few minutes. It was a pity because we tried to play a certain brand today and obviously those cards took it away from us. It was disappointing, but it was entirely our own fault.”
Everitt backs red cards replacements
Sharks coach Sean Everitt believes the law trial allowing red carded players to be replaced is a good one that will help prevent games from being ruined by refereeing calls.
“Especially early in the game when you concede a red card, it’s always going to be tough to try and make a spectacle out of the game,” said Everitt.
“I don’t think those players [Senatla and Engelbrecht] intentionally went in.
“With Seabelo Senatla, I don’t think that was intentional from him. It was probably careless, and he’ll learn from that. We know he’s a good rugby player and he’s not a malicious person at all.
“At the end of the day the rules are there and the fact that a team can make do and change on a red card after 20 minutes I think is a good idea in hindsight.”