Rugby

Bath want Toulouse replay because of referee 'negligence'

2018-10-19 20:34

London - Bath have taken the unprecedented step of writing to European Champions Cup organisers calling for their 22-20 pool defeat by Toulouse to be replayed because of "negligence" by the match officials.

"I think the game should be replayed," Bruce Craig, the Bath owner, told The Times in comments published on the British newspaper's website on Friday. "We will do what we can to get equity."

Last week's match at their Recreation Ground in southwest England has become infamous for the showboating blunder of Bath's Freddie Burns who, in the closing minutes, failed to ground the ball correctly for what would have been a match-winning try.

Craig's complaint, however, is focused on two other issues.

First, referee Andrew Brace blew the final whistle with a few seconds left on the clock after Bath had won a line-out near the Toulouse try-line.

Bath are adamant there was still time for the line-out to take place and for them to attempt a winning score.

Their other complaint is that two Toulouse players, Jerome Kaino and Lucas Pointud, were both cited after the match and suspended by a disciplinary tribunal for foul play.

Bath believe that had the pair been punished properly on the field they would have both received red cards, with Toulouse finishing the game down to 13 men.

Bath have now informed tournament organisers, European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), of their request for a rematch.

"This is the European Cup, there are massive sporting and financial implications," Craig told The Times. "Bath have been majorly disadvantaged.

"This isn't sour grapes, because maybe we wouldn't have won the game, but that is not the issue."

Kaino's tackle on Jamie Roberts led to the Wales centre leaving the game.

At the time, the New Zealander was shown a yellow card, which brought a 10-minute suspension, but a disciplinary hearing this week gave the double World Cup winner a five-week ban.

Pointud struck Nathan Catt with a shoulder but remained on the pitch. He was later given a four-week suspension.

The bans may aid Irish province Leinster, the reigning European Cup champions, who play Toulouse on Sunday but are scant consolation for Bath.

"There is a player welfare issue here," insisted Craig said, in a criticism of Welsh official Brace. "In terms of his gross negligence, the referee is endangering the player."

Toulouse are unhappy as well. The French giants announced on Friday that they were appealing against flanker Kaino's ban as there was "no clear and obvious act of foul play."

Fullback Burns had two chances to win the game for Bath in the closing minutes, first missing a penalty from in front of the posts before squandering a try when, having crossed the line, his premature celebration allowed France's Maxime Medard time to knock the ball out of the Bath man's grasp as he moved to ground it and score.

A distressed Burns was then substituted, but Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder has kept faith by announcing Burns will start at flyhalf in Saturday's pool match against English rivals Wasps.

"Freddie started for us at 10 earlier in the season and we have every confidence that he'll do the job," said Blackadder.

Burns, tweeting shortly after the Toulouse defeat, said: "Today was an ultimate low and a mistake I'll learn from.

"I'll continue to give my best as I always do. Lastly just apologies to the boys and the supporters for the mistake. I'll bounce back... thanks for the support."

Read more on:    bath  |  toulouse  |  rugby
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