Rugby Union: Mallett adamant punch merited sending-off

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The Independent Online
NICK MALLETT, the South Africa coach, believes the Ireland hooker Keith Wood should have been sent off during the first Test in Bloemfontein at the weekend.

The Springboks won 37-13, but Mallett was far from satisfied with the caution and penalty the England referee Ed Morrison awarded South Africa for Wood's punch on the Springbok captain Gary Teichmann. "I thought that was a deliberate act of aggression, and I believe if I had cited him, he would be out for six weeks," Mallett said as he announced the team to face Ireland in the second Test in Pretoria on Saturday.

"I admire Keith Wood as a player, but you've got to keep within the rules. What he did was unacceptable, and I think he should have walked. In fact, it's just as well that the punch hit the back of our flanker Johan Erasmus's head beforehand, otherwise it would have taken Gary's head off. In turn, I felt our discipline was outstanding." Mallett said.

John Rutherford, the Scotland backs coach, yesterday offered a challenge to players contesting places against Australia on Saturday. The Scots second string play Queensland in Brisbane today, with Test places available. "This is a big game for the midweek team," Rutherford said. "Queensland are a Super 12 side, so this game effectively will be our fourth Test of the tour. It is a huge challenge. It will also be the last chance for two or three players to make a challenge for Test places on Saturday."

Under scrutiny will be the hooker Steve Brotherstone, whose throwing- in will be looked at carefully following a poor performance from Kevin McKenzie, who replaced the injured Gordon Bulloch. Bulloch is out for the rest of the tour but Scotland will be back to full strength at hooker when Gavin Scott, of Caledonia and Dundee HSFP, joins the tour party.

Wales have included the tour newcomers Geraint Evans and Geraint Lewis in their team to meet Border today in the third game of their tour of Southern Africa. Both players have arrived in South Africa as replacements after injury forced change in the the Welsh camp.

Evans, the uncapped Neath centre, will make his first appearance of the six-match trip after flying out to replace David Weatherley, who was forced home with a knee injury. Lewis, also uncapped, will line up in the back row alongside his Pontypridd club-mate Martyn Williams.

Lewis only linked up with the rest of the squad in East London on Sunday after being called up to replace Wales's second injury victim, Scott Quinnell, who has returned home after a calf injury.

The inclusion of Lewis is one of nine changes, one of them positional, made by the Wales coach Dennis John following last Friday's 35-13 defeat to the Emerging Springboks. Darril Williams, Garan Evans, Paul John, Mike Griffiths, Ben Evans and Paul Arnold start for the second successive match, while Llanelli's Chris Wyatt is moved from No 8 to the second row.

SOUTH AFRICA (v Ireland, second Test, Pretioria, Saturday): P Montgomery; S Terblanche, A Snyman, P Muller, P Rossouw; G du Toit, J van der Westhuizen; O le Roux, J Dalton, A Garvey, K Otto, M Andrews, J Erasmus, A Venter, G Teichmann (capt). Replacements: M Hendricks, F Smith, W Swanepoel, A Aitken, B Skinstad, R Kempson, N Drotske.

SCOTLAND (v Queensland, Brisbane, today): D Lee; C Joiner, J Mayer, D Officer, A Bulloch; D Hodge, G Burns; G McIlwham, S Brotherstone, M Stewart, S Campbell, R Metcalfe, C Mather, S Reid (capt), A Roxburgh. Replacements: H Gilmour, I Jardine, I Fairley, G Simpson, S Murray, P Wright, K McKenzie.

WALES (v Border, East London, today): D Williams; R Rees, M Taylor, Geraint Evans, Garan Evans; A Thomas, P John; M Griffiths, G Jenkins, B Evans, P Arnold, C Wyatt, G Lewis, M Williams, N Thomas. Replacements: D James, B Hayward, R Howley, A Moore, M Jones, D Morris, B Williams.