Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Monday made an early plea to referee Nigel Owens to protect the attacking side when South Africa and New Zealand meet in an epic Rugby Championship decider at Ellis Park on Saturday.
While Meyer insisted he was speaking in general terms and not referring to Frenchman Jerome Garces' performance in the match against the Wallabies last weekend, his frustration that the Springboks were denied a bonus point against Australia despite their overwhelming dominance was obvious.
Meyer conceded that the Springboks had enough opportunities to claim the fourth try at Newlands, but with his team now needing a bonus-point win against the All Blacks to have any chance of claiming the Rugby Championship title, his desire for an open, free-flowing game is understandable.
"We're not allowed to blame the referees but if a referee does not help you in the mauls, if people are allowed to crash into you in the air or take out your legs, then you can't maul, it's simple. Against Argentina in Johannesburg, the referee was brilliant, he allowed us to maul. The scrums are the same.
"There are brilliant officials in world rugby at the moment, they're unbelievable....