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Page last updated at 12:27 GMT, Thursday, 22 July 2010 13:27 UK

South Africa coach hints at refereeing 'conspiracy'

New Zealand's Richie McCaw is confronted by South African players
New Zealand and South Africa played out a fiesty encounter in Wellington

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers has hinted there is a refereeing conspiracy against his players to boost rugby in New Zealand.

Two Springboks have been sin-binned in recent games between the teams while he says All Blacks are going unpunished.

"Maybe I can't say it in public but there's a World Cup in New Zealand next year," he said.

"Maybe it's the right thing for them to win the games to attract more people to the games next year."

Reigning Tri-Nations champions South Africa have lost both their games in the tournament against New Zealand this year, each time with a northern hemisphere referee.


Their next game, against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday, will again be overseen by an Irishman, George Clancy.

In both games so far, South African players have had players sin-binned for infringements at the breakdown, while New Zealand captain Richie McCaw has been penalised repeatedly and cautioned for infringements at the breakdown, but allowed to remain on the field.

De Villiers says his players are playing by the same rules applied in the Super 14 competition, but are being treated unfairly by referees, and the South African Rugby Union has asked its legal representative to get an explanation for what they consider refereeing inconsistency.

The Springboks have also had two players suspended after the two games of the tournament so far.

Winger Jean de Villiers was banned for two weeks for a dangerous tackle during the 31-17 loss on 17 July, and a week before that, Bakkies Botha earned a nine-week ban for a head-butt.

But Springboks vice-captain Victor Matfield said his team-mates needed to adapt to the referee's law interpretations.

"It's just doing stupid things out of our character that we have to cut out at the moment," he said.

"It's just one of many areas South Africa must improve to keep their title defence alive."

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see also
Australia 30-13 South Africa
24 Jul 10 |  Rugby Union
Springbok De Villiers handed ban
18 Jul 10 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand 31-17 South Africa
17 Jul 10 |  Rugby Union
Botha handed nine-week suspension
11 Jul 10 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand 32-12 South Africa
10 Jul 10 |  Rugby Union

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