Wednesday 12 December 2018

'The result of the match stands' - Champions Cup organisers refuse Bath's replay request

5 October 2018; Referee Andrew Brace during the Guinness PRO14 Round 6 match between Ulster and Connacht at Kingspan Stadium, in Belfast. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
5 October 2018; Referee Andrew Brace during the Guinness PRO14 Round 6 match between Ulster and Connacht at Kingspan Stadium, in Belfast. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The organisers of the Champions Cup have denied that referee Andrew Brace ended the Bath vs Toulouse fixture prematurely in round one of this year's competition.

Toulouse won the match at the Recreation Ground 22-20 folllowing a frantic finale that saw Freddie Burns blow a try-scoring opportunity over the line for the home side after celebrating prematurely.

Bath chairman Bruce Craig subsequently complained that referee Brace blew the full-time whistle at 79.57, with his side about to take an attacking lineout. It was then reported that the club would launch an appeal to try and get the fixture replayed because of that decision, and the subsequent citing of two Toulouse players.

However, this afternoon the EPCR have refuted Craig's criticism of Brace's time-keeping, and say that 80 minutes had elapsed on the match clock, which was out of sync with the TV graphics.

"It has been reported in the media that the match referee, Andrew Brace, blew the full-time whistle three seconds before the 80 minutes had elapsed, however, this is incorrect," the statement says.

"Although the television match graphics indicated that 79 minutes and 57 seconds had elapsed when the match ended, the official stadium clock which was visible to players, club management and to spectators, clearly displayed that 80 minutes had elapsed.

"Once Andrew Brace received confirmation in his earpiece from the Official Timekeeper that time was up, he blew the final whistle.

"EPCR accepts that the disparity in this instance between the official time and the time shown on the television match graphics caused some confusion, and ways to avoid any similar situation in the future will be carefully considered by the tournament organiser.

"The result of the Pool 1 match stands."

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