VIDEO: Grumpy Edinburgh stew over 'one-eyed' officials
REACTION: The star-studded Edinburgh team returned home on Monday with their collective tails between their legs – having seen their dream of a South African double shattered at the weekend.
A combination of the Lions’ gritty defence and the Scottish capital team’s own inability to turn opportunities into points, saw the hosts win their fourth successive United Rugby Championship match at Ellis Park.
The 15-9 win in Johannesburg also ended Edinburgh’s dream of a South African double.
The Lions, with the irrepressible Vincent Tshituka again in fine form, outscored the visitors by two tries to nil.
However, the post-match reaction was marked by subtle hints of match-official bias.
Edinburgh coach Mike Blair admitted that it was a “missed opportunity” for his team – who is still the only European-based outfit to win on South African soil this season, having beaten the Sharks in Durban a week before.
He said they were not on top of their game and a “quality team” like the Lions made them pay.
He expressed his “disappointment” with the ‘no try’ given, after flyhalf Blair Kinghorn had scooted over – South African TMO Ben Crouse finding a knock-on in the build-up.
“We believe we had managed the game well up till that stage,” the former Scottish scrumhalf, with 85 Test caps, said.
“It would have given us a nice buffer,” he said of a scoreline that would have gone from 6-5 to 11-5 or 13-5, adding: “We lost a bit of momentum after that.”
He admitted it was the correct decision, but felt the TMO only looked at his team’s errors.
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“The TMO was particularly eagle-eyed on one side of the game.”
He added that he is always ‘cautious’ about speaking about officials, because that becomes the story.
“I thought they spent a lot of time [looking] for issues that we [Edinburgh] had done,” the Scottish coach said.
“They spent about three minutes trying to find a high tackle that was made when our player was on his knees when he made the tackle.
“There were other ones as well, where they sifted through footage for ages, trying to look at things.
“We’ve got two or three clear-cut headshots, we have a no-arms tackle that wasn’t looked at.
“I don’t want that to be the story.
“We got the rub of the green in different ways against the Sharks last week – with [Curwin] Bosch missing a couple of kicks and then dropping the ball over the line.
“I am aware of the swings and roundabouts.”
Next up for Edinburgh is French side Pau back home in the Scottish capital, where a win will see Edinburgh progress to the knock-out stages of the European Challenge Cup as pool winners.
Then it is back to URC duty with three games of the regular season left – all at home – against Zebre (April 22), Ulster (April 30) and Glasgow (May 21).
If they win all three, a top-three finish will also see them with home ground advantage in the play-offs.