VIDEO: Ref's howler divides Crusaders and Chiefs coaches
REACTION: Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has come out in staunch defence of referee Ben O’Keeffe following his side’s 32-19 win over the Chiefs on Saturday.
The Crusaders outscored their opponents by five tries to one in the match for a bonus-point win after they suffered their first defeat in the competition against the Hurricanes last week.
The result means the Chiefs’ losing streak now stands at eight matches, which is a team record.
Despite the Chiefs’ horrendous form, this time it was not their performance which caused the outrage, instead, it is referee Ben O’Keeffe’s display.
With the match poised on a knife’s edge at 19-20 in the visiting Crusaders’ favour, the Chiefs were busy defending deep inside their half as they repelled waves of Crusaders’ attacks.
Eventually, the Crusaders found a gap in the armour and reserve lock Quinten Strange catapulted into the 22.
As Strange tried to offload to the supporting Sevu Reece, the second-row knocked the ball forward. Before the ball hit the ground, however, Strange managed to tap the ball and Reece grabbed possession and waltzed into the Chiefs’ goal-area untouched.
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When asked whether he thinks Reece’s try would be awarded, Robertson bluntly replied: ‘Yes’
And continued to explain to the New Zealand media.
“It came backwards out of his hand.
“Are you questioning it?
“I’m glad you’re not reffing. Sorry, I’m being cheeky there. Enough about the refs anyway.”
For the Chiefs, this is the second-consecutive week referees’ controversial calls have resulted in defeat.
However, Chiefs coach Warren Gatland, who has every right to be outrage, was very poised and measured afterwards, simply stating: “I thought Sevu Reece’s try was a knock-on, but you’ve got to take those calls, as we’ve been doing,” he said.
“For me, where the contact of the body is and where the ball bounces, even though he’s run through, it’s definitely gone forward.
“It’s probably a psychological thing, like ‘here we go again’,” he said of the effect on the team.
“I thought you could see the crowd’s reaction, and talking afterwards to some of the TV commentators, they could see the same picture that I could see, and maybe you guys could see as well.
“They’re [the refs] always going to make a mistake or two.
“So it’s a bit frustrating.
“But we’ve just got to take that on the chin and move on.
“The Crusaders showed what a quality side they were tonight.
“I thought defensively they were outstanding, and they took their chances.
“I think they deserved to win the game.”
Source: Rugbypass & Stuff
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