More TMO controversy!

2014-09-06 21:18
TMO in the spotlight (File)

London - Saracens kicked off their Premiership campaign in controversial fashion as David Strettle's hat-trick sealed a dramatic 34-28 victory over Wasps at Twickenham on Saturday.

Christian Wade's two second-half tries had helped Wasps run in 22 unanswered points to lead 28-20, only for Saracens to strike back and win it in the final minute.

To make the loss even more frustrating for Wasps, Strettle's last-gasp try was a dubious decision by television match official (TMO) David Sainsbury.

Referee Andrew Small referred the decision on the score to the TMO, with Sainsbury eventually awarding the pivotal try.

The decision left Wasps angry as replays showed Strettle appeared to knock on while grounding the ball.

Premiership bosses have told referees to take greater control of big decisions and refer fewer calls to the television officials, but once again another big call has been made by arbiters off the field.

Saracens lost last term's Premiership final due to a TMO call that awarded Alex Waller Northampton's extra-time winner.

Tries from Chris Ashton and Strettle eased Saracens into half-time 20-9 ahead before the Wasps revival.

Strettle raced in for his second to squeeze Wasps' lead back to one point, before the former Harlequins wing crossed again to steal victory.

Also in action at Twickenham on the opening weekend were Harlequins, who ground out a hard-fought 20-15 win over London Irish.

Quins were nowhere near their best and were hard pressed to repel a battling second-half performance from Irish.

The visitors seemed in total control when they led 20-6 at half-time but, early in the second half, both props Joe Marlar and Kyle Sinckler collected yellow cards, allowing Irish to mount a revival.

Quins had dominated the first half with tries from Ugo Monye and replacement Ollie Lindsay-Hague, with two conversions and two penalties from Nick Evans and had the outside half not missed with three simple penalties, Quins would have won the game more comfortably.

Some excellent goal-kicking from Shane Geraghty saw him succeed with five penalties but crucially Irish failed to score a try when Quins were down to 13 men.

A late penalty from Evans saw the visitors home.

Leicester's successful bid to keep Vereniki Goneva paid early dividends when the Fijian destroyed Newcastle with a 17-minute hat-trick in a 36-17 win.

Goneva, a target for French side Castres at the end of last season, decided to stay after lengthy talks and repaid the club's faith in him with tries in the 44th, 50th and 61st minutes.

Leicester scored four tries altogether and Newcastle responded with two from Richard Mayhew and Andy Saull.

George Ford eclipsed Danny Cipriani in the battle of the England flyhalves as Bath beat Sale 29-20 in front of national coach Stuart Lancaster.

Ahead of next month's naming of the senior elite player squad for the autumn international campaign, Ford created the opening try for Anthony Watson and was instrumental again for Semesa Rokoduguni's second-half clincher.

Ford also kicked 19 points as Bath, who will welcome England rugby league star Sam Burgess to the club from NRL outfit South Sydney Rabbitohs next month, took the spoils.

Cipriani also showed glimpses of class on his 100th Premiership appearance as he kicked 10 points but Bath eked out the win, denying Sale a losing bonus point.

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