Sunday 25 February 2018

Adam Jones urges Lions not to 'whinge' about officiating

Former Wales prop Adam Jones has urged the British and Irish Lions not to "whinge" about the officiating of their misfiring scrum.

The tourists endured a second defeat in four matches when a 22-13 third-quarter lead over the Highlanders ended in a 23-22 loss after Marty Banks landed a match-winning penalty that was conceded at the set-piece by Dan Cole.

Head coach Warren Gatland admitted the Lions' creaking scrum had cost them the game, questioned the decision-making of Australian referee Angus Gardner and called for consistency.

"The main word to keep in mind when discussing how the scrum is being officiated in New Zealand is 'interpretation'," Jones, who made five Test appearances for the Lions, told ESPN.

"It is all about interpretation. Everything is different when you are being refereed by a southern rather than a northern hemisphere ref, so we can't whinge about it too much - we have just got to crack on.

"Much has been made of what Marius Jonker, the television match official, said to referee Angus Gardner when Dan Cole came on against the Highlanders, but what people don't see is that the officials do a lot of homework on you.

"Referees will look at each prop to see how he's been going in the last couple of games, how he's been scrummaging and whatnot.

"Gardner will have done that too, so I think he'd have a pretty good idea about how the Lions have been scrummaging and how Cole, in particular, has a reputation for testing the laws with his bind."

From the start the Highlanders were telling Gardner that they had dominance at the scrum and when Cole came on to the field, Jonker informed Gardner via the radio link to watch the replacement tighthead's binding.

When asked how to combat the New Zealanders' bid to shift scrum perception in their favour, Gatland said the Lions should just keep calm and carry on.

"I look to those two penalties against Dan Cole, and I think the first one's a penalty to us, the loosehead has gone down,'' said Gatland.

''The officials have seen a different picture. There's no doubt they've got some ascendancy in the second scrum penalty and I accept that, but I thought the first one, we'd forced an error.

''But look, you've just got to take those on the chin."

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