Saturday 23 September 2017

Organisers admit referee lineout error

Pat Lam reckons 20 points will be enough to get them through, but first they need to finish above Toulouse. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Pat Lam reckons 20 points will be enough to get them through, but first they need to finish above Toulouse. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Champions Cup organisers EPCR yesterday confirmed that replacement referee Mathieu Raynal had erred in allowing Connacht take a pivotal late lineout in their win over Wasps.

The French official, who came on for injured compatriot Jerome Garces during the closing stages of Saturday night's dramatic game, awarded the Westerners a penalty with the match clock past the 80-minute mark.

John Muldoon conferred with the official who said he could put the ball into touch and take the lineout, but under the current laws of the game the match should have ended when the ball was kicked to touch.

A new law trial which starts in January will allow teams kick to touch after the time has elapsed and take the throw, but that has not yet come into force.

However, with Raynal's permission, Jack Carty kicked for the corner and Connacht mauled over with Naulia Dawai touching down and the out-half converting to give his side the win.

"EPCR would like to clarify an issue arising from yesterday's European Rugby Champions Cup, Round 4 match between Connacht Rugby and Wasps at The Sportsground," a statement read.

"As time had elapsed, Connacht should not have been permitted to take a line-out throw-in once the ball had been kicked into touch as stipulated in Law 5.7 (e) of World Rugby's Laws of the Game. EPCR would like to thank all parties for their understanding and would also like to confirm that the result of the Pool 2 match stands."

When asked about the incident after the game, Wasps coach Dai Young refused to blame the decision.

"I thought it had gone 80 minutes to be quite honest," he said.

"We'll have a look at that, but the script was written, wasn't it? When it was kicked to touch, it always looked like they were going to get the drive over and they were always going to kick the conversion. We'll have a look at whether the penalty was just before or just after, but I don't think that (law change) is in yet, is it?"

Wasps host Toulouse at the Ricoh Arena in Round 5 before finishing away to Zebre and victory over the French side in Coventry would set them up to top the pool.

Wasps, Toulouse and Connacht are all on 13 points after four games, but the Westerners must travel to the south of France in Round 6. Toulouse collected 10 points from their back-to-back fixtures against Zebre as expected.

Pat Lam reckons 20 points will be enough to get them through, but first they need to finish above Toulouse.

"I think traditionally 20 gets you there definitely, 18, 19 is a chance," Lam said. "But the main thing is you need to finish second. The Wasps-Toulouse game is a big one which will determine what we have to do, what we have to go and get. It's a wonderful competition, I am just thankful we are in there."

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