Rugby Union: Bevan prepared to use sin-bin

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THE WELSH referee Derek Bevan will be under the spotlight this morning when New Zealand face Australia in what many see as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in November.

The South Africa coach, Nick Mallett, had accused the All Blacks of cheating after their record 28-0 thrashing two weeks ago and he singled out Josh Kronfeld and Jeff Wilson as the two most guilty men. Mallett believes both Kronfeld and Wilson, switched to full-back because his defence is better than Christian Cullen's, pin players down until the cavalry arrives.

Australia's coach, Rod Macqueen, is expected to raise the point with Bevan before the match in Auckland and remind him that the sin-bin can be used in the Tri-Nations series. Bevan insists he would not hesitate to use it. "I've been a big fan of the sin-bin for years and if it's going to all internationals, that's good," said Bevan, who is not shy about using the cards at his disposal, showing South African flanker Andre Ventner a red one here two years ago.

"That's the law, that's what it's there for and I'd be quite happy to use it if there were repeated infringements. I ran the line in both South African Tests and I think both New Zealand and Australia looked very positive. I hope they go in with that attitude."

Bevan, 50, who has refereed 14 All Black Tests, with New Zealand winning eight and losing six, denied he would give a whistle-blowing northern hemisphere referee's display. "I think they are more positive and, when they play each other, you don't get the killing of the ball they do at home," said the 1991 World Cup Final referee. "You can only rule according to the laws and the way the players respond."

Australia are going into the Tri-Nations Test with an all- foreign front row. The loosehead prop Glenn Panoho and hooker Jeremy Paul, both New Zealand-born, and the Argentinian tight-head Patricio Noriega make up the Wallabies' heavy men. Panaho was slotted back into the side after Dan Crowley continued to struggle with a leg injury. Crowley is expected to be on the bench with Andrew Blades, who has a similar problem. "It's going to be the hardest Test I've ever played," said the 28-year- old Panoho, who is facing the All Blacks for the first time.