Thursday 22 August 2019

Wasps 'hugely disappointed' over refereeing error in Champions Cup defeat to Connacht

Jack Carty is swamped by his Connacht team-mates after kicking the match-winning conversion against Wasps. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Jack Carty is swamped by his Connacht team-mates after kicking the match-winning conversion against Wasps. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Nick Purewal

Wasps have branded the refereeing error that led to Connacht's 20-18 Champions Cup victory "hugely disappointing".

Stand-in referee Mathieu Raynal incorrectly allowed Connacht to take a lineout having kicked to touch from a penalty that was awarded on full-time, from which the Galway men claimed victory through a converted try.

Test referee Raynal started Saturday's clash at Galway's Sportsground as an assistant but had taken over the main officiating when Jerome Garces suffered a hamstring problem in the 74th minute.

Tournament organisers European Professional Club Rugby quickly admitted Raynal's error after the clash, but insisted the result stands, leaving Wasps lamenting a tougher route to quarter-final qualification.

"We all understand referees are only human and mistakes do occasionally happen," a Wasps statement read.

"However, for a referee and fourth official to get the laws of the game wrong at a crucial stage of a big match is hugely disappointing.

"The error made could have serious repercussions in terms of Wasps' qualification hopes or the prospect of securing a home quarter-final."

Naulia Dawai's try and Jack Carty's conversion stole Connacht a victory that leaves the Galway side tied with Wasps and Toulouse on 13 points after four of the six matches in Pool Two.

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Raynal's error appears to have stemmed from confusion over a change to the law that will be trialled in the southern hemisphere from January 1 and in the north from August 1.

Once the trials are enforced, teams will be allowed to take a lineout from a penalty kicked to touch in overtime.

Connacht captain John Muldoon asked if his side could take the lineout, and Raynal eventually agreed.

Wasps said their protests at the time fell on deaf ears.

"Wasps' pitchside officials immediately stressed to the fourth official that Connacht could not take the lineout, as the referee had indicated time had gone beyond 80 minutes," their statement continued.

"Wasps' players on the pitch also emphasised to the referee that time was up. Despite several protests, the lineout was still allowed to be taken.

"EPCR have stated that the result stands. We congratulate Connacht after a hard-fought contest and we will now move on to the final rounds, after tough Premiership games against Bath, Newcastle and Leicester Tigers."

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