London - Bristol coach Pat Lam was left lamenting a
"huge, huge call" that allowed Exeter to snatch a last-minute victory
with a penalty try in the English Premiership on Sunday.
Bristol were on course for an upset win over the still
unbeaten table-toppers as they led their southwest rivals 29-24 heading into
the closing moments at Ashton Gate.
But, to the despair of the home crowd, referee Greg
Macdonald decided Bristol had deliberately pulled down a last-minute drive off
a line-out and awarded Exeter a seven-point penalty try that saw the 2017
Premiership champions win 31-29.
"The referee told me that 10 (Callum Sheedy) and 12
(Will Hurrell) had come in from the side, but, having seen the replays, I don't
see that," said Lam.
"The touch judge was shouting 'held up' and, as it was
such a huge huge call, the TMO (Television Match Official) should been
consulted," the Samoa great insisted.
"We will be going through the processes with the RFU
(Rugby Football Union) referees supremo, Tony Spreadbury, as we've already had
two apologies this season and I'm pretty sure we'll get another one."
Charles Piutau and Luke Morahan both scored tries for Exeter
with Sheedy kicking their remaining 19 points.
Argentina's Santiago Cordero was one of Exeter's four
try-scorers, in addition to the penalty try, with Gareth Steenson kicking two
"It was a great game with both sides playing
outstandingly and with real physicality, but it's not great that we had the
game taken away from us following our best performance of the season,"
Exeter boss Rob Baxter had given several players a long rest
in the run-up to this fixture following a gruelling early season campaign also
featuring European fixtures.
"It would have been my fault if we had lost as we took
a different approach to Bristol as we had two tough games in Europe," he
said after Exeter's seventh win in as many Premiership matches so far this
"I knew we would be fresh, but we made loads of
mistakes and gave away too many penalties and although Bristol played very
well, we just found a way to win it," Baxter added.