Penalty calls out of order claims Lions star

PAUL O'CONNELL accused ref Bryce Lawrence of being one-eyed after The Beast silenced the Raging Bull.

South Africa's Tendai Mtawarira, 23, destroyed veteran opposite number Phil Vickery as the Lions' scrum was overpowered.

The tourists conceded a string of damaging penalties before coach Ian McGeechan put England's Vickery, 33, out of his misery just after half-time.

But Lions skipper O'Connell defended the tighthead prop's performance - and slammed the display of New Zealander Lawrence.

O'Connell said: "Bryce was saying Phil was constantly driving in at the scrum but I didn't think so.

"Phil is a very experienced prop who has played rugby for a long time. How he could be seen to be making the same mistake four or five scrums in a row is beyond me.

"Bryce said Phil was going in all the time but I said he has never had a problem before.

"I can understand a guy giving away one or two penalties but every time he seemed to be refereeing us, not them.

"We ran out of time, but when the referee gives that many penalties against you then you don't stand a chance. Those penalties killed us."

The Lions will seek emergency talks with International Rugby Board referees chief Paddy O'Brien this week.

Springbok winger Bryan Habana gets involved in a dust up with Lions replacement hooker Matthew Rees and Ugo Monye
DUST-UP - Springbok winger Bryan Habana gets involved with Matthew Rees and Ugo Monye

They have six days to solve their scrummaging problems ahead of the Second Test and Andrew Sheridan is in line for a call-up.

McGeechan said: "We'll have a look at some of those decisions and try and get some explanation from them.

"Obviously that's important for next week. We need to know what is expected of our tighthead prop. Of course Phil is disappointed."

The Lions' late surge saw Mike Phillips and Tom Croft grab tries to close the gap - but it was not to be.

O'Connell added: "If we hadn't played well then it would be hard to get ourselves up for next week. There has to be belief after that display."

Mtawarira - nicknamed The Beast - said: "Vickery is a great scrummager but we had looked at the scrum as an area we could work on. There is definitely more to come from us."


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