Six Nations

French ref Poite in spotlight: 'He doesn't seem to like us'

2019-02-10 07:30
Greig Laidlaw (Getty Images)

Edinburgh - Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw hit out at French referee Romain Poite following his team's 22-13 Six Nations loss to Ireland at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Laidlaw knows Poite well as the scrumhalf plays for French giants Clermont.

"Romain Poite picked us up in the middle of the field, Sean O'Brien's cleared the ball out and he's given a knock-on right in front of him," Laidlaw told the BBC.

"He doesn't seem to like us, Romain. He refereed us against South Africa as well and we don't seem to see eye-to-eye.

"We're not going to blame him, we look at ourselves, and credit to Ireland."

WATCH: French ref Poite KO’d in Champions Cup match

Poite is also a familiar referee for southern hemisphere teams and Springbok fans will remember him for controversially sending off hooker Bismarck du Plessis against the All Blacks in 2013.

Du Plessis copped two yellow cards - and a subsequent red card - for, firstly, a tackle on All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter and then an elbow-charge against flank Liam Messam during that year's Rugby Championship clash in Auckland.

The All Blacks went on to win the game 29-15 - a result which led to heavy criticism against the Frenchman, so much so that the International Rugby Board (IRB) as they were known at the time issued a statement admitting Poite had erred.

Poite also made headlines in 2017 when he controversially changed his mind over a penalty he awarded the All Blacks late in their drawn Test against the British and Irish Lions in Auckland.

Meanwhile, Scottish hooker Stuart McInally was more gracious in defeat praising the Irish for their resolute defence.

"We were too knackered, we couldn't really string a few phases together," said McInally.

"That's credit to the Irish team, they put us under heaps of pressure, but we'll work hard and try and be better.

"We felt really good in defence, marched them back numerous times then they scored two really cheap tries."

Ireland captain Rory Best credited his team's mental strength in defeating Scotland - a result which ended the hosts' seven match unbeaten home Six Nations run and putting behind them the opening weekend loss to England.

The 36-year-old hooker - who along with his team-mates put in a considerably better performance than in the 32-20 defeat by the English in Dublin - said it had been a challenging week but they had come through.

"We have a lot of belief in what we're doing and how good a team we are," Best told the BBC.

"That was a really tough game, and it was tough mentally in the build-up to it.

"We asked for a physical reaction and by and large we got that. We had a couple of chances and we took them and were quite clinical. We've got a lot of improving to do."

Best, who has skippered the Irish to two wins over world champions New Zealand and the Six Nations Grand Slam last year, specially praised Joey Carbery, who came on after 24 minutes for the injured world player of the year Johnny Sexton.

The New Zealand-born flyhalf - who moved to Munster last year after being an understudy to Sexton at Leinster - made a nervy start with his pass being intercepted leading to Scotland's try at the end of the first-half.

However, a superb burst from inside his own-half created Ireland's third try, veteran Keith Earls touching down, which he converted and he added a well taken penalty later in the second-half to give the Irish some breathing space.

"Joey Carbery has flourished since moving to Munster and starting regularly," said Best.

"We trust the players to come off the bench and step up as Joey did."
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt also praised Carbery for his character in recovering from the intercepted pass.

However, he was not too happy about the treatment handed out to Sexton.

"Johnny Sexton got a bit of treatment out there and he got a stamp on the head but he is feeling better and we expect him to be back in the next couple of weeks," the 53-year-old told the BBC.

Read more on:    ireland  |  scotland  |  six nations  |  rory best  |  romain poite  |  rugby


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Saturday, 07 March 2020
Ireland v Italy, Aviva Stadium 16:15
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