Geech seeks answer for Vickery's punishment

Ian McGeechan and the rest of the British and Irish Lions management will seek urgent clarification from the refereeing authorities ahead of next weekend's second Test against South Africa in Pretoria after seeing their front row – particularly the tight-head prop Phil Vickery – penalised into oblivion here yesterday.

Vickery was singled out by the New Zealand official Bryce Lawrence at a number of scrums in the first half, and partly as a consequence, the Springboks built up a big interval lead that underpinned their eventual victory.

"We'll send a report to Paddy O'Brien [another New Zealander, who runs the International Rugby Board's refereeing department] and if anything comes of that, it will be discussed with the officials for the Pretoria game at a meeting on Friday," said McGeechan, the head coach of the touring party, who felt forced to substitute Vickery, his most experienced forward, four minutes after the break. "We need an explanation because it's very important to us going forward to this match. The penalty count in the first half, and early in the second, killed us."

Paul O'Connell, the defeated captain, was much sharper in voicing his dissatisfaction with some of Lawrence's calls at the set-piece. "He said Phil was constantly going in [on the Springbok hooker], but while it was hard for me to see from the second row, I didn't think that was so," said the Irish lock. "That Phil should have been judged to have made the same mistake at four or five scrums in a row is beyond me. I can understand a guy giving away one or two penalties and the ref making a 'read' on him, but out there, he seemed to be refereeing just us every time."

McGeechan went out of his way to fasten on to the positive aspects of the Lions' performance, especially the two-try comeback late in the game that ate into the South Africans' 26-7 advantage and left the tourists within a converted try of victory. "We'd be more concerned if the players had turned in a poor performance, but they didn't," the coach insisted. "In particular, I thought Brian O'Driscoll and Jamie Roberts demonstrated just what a dangerous centre pairing they have become."

The Springbok camp were mightily relieved at crawling their way to the finish post. Peter de Villiers, their head coach, admitted he "might have tried too much too soon" in introducing fresh legs off the bench – fresh legs that were nowhere near as effective as the tiring ones belonging to those players who had started the match and taken complete control early on.

For John Smit, the Springbok captain and one of the try-scorers, the forthcoming game at Loftus Versfeld Stadium will be one of the climactic contests of a long and successful career. "Both teams will be really fighting now: one to finish, one to survive," said the versatile front-row forward, who had been playing in front of his home crowd. "The pressure up there in Pretoria will be twice as big next weekend."

Smit, who led the Boks to the world title in 2007, was not at all impressed by his side's second-half effort. "We let our concentration lapse, we took our foot off the gas, our kicking game went down the toilet," he complained. But he paid tribute to his fellow prop, Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira, who claimed the man-of-the-match award for his undoing of Vickery. "He was outstanding," the captain said. "He flew his fiancée into town for this game. I think we'll have to keep her around for a bit."

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own