Reds co-coach Nick Stiles voiced his frustration at some crucial officiating decisions in his side’s narrow 15-13 loss to the Waratahs on Sunday.
Stiles was honest with his views on two critical decisions in the game, a 44th minute yellow card to Andrew Ready and a possible knock on by Waratahs fly-half Bernard Foley that ultimately led to the Sydneysiders' winning penalty goal.
Stiles disputed the fairness of Ready’s yellow card, given for a knee to the head of Waratahs replacement hooker Hugh Roach.
“When you look at the opposition hooker and he’s in the middle of the scrum lying on the ground in a position he shouldn’t be, maybe there should be some yellow cards before that point in time as well,” he said.
“Andrew Ready was driving forward, he’s got no idea where his legs are, no idea where the hooker, and it’s unfortunate because we were in a good position to go for another pushover try.”
Ready's front row team-mate Sef Fa'agase was cited in the hours after the match for the incident, adding another twist to the sequence of events.
The replays of Foley’s fumbled pick up aren’t conclusive but Stiles was adamant the fly-half had knocked the ball on, before gathering and gaining critical field position before the Reds gave up the deciding penalty.
Though he was blunt in his disagreement with the match officials, Stiles won’t be dwelling on those debatable calls into their bye week.
“It happens, the game’s done,” he said.
“We’ve got to learn from it and get better.”
Reds captain Rob Simmons was circumspect about the refereeing decisions post-match.
“It is just footy,” he said.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ref reverse the call after looking at a replay
“Those things you’ve got to deal with. Sometimes you see on a replay it is wrong and it’s frustrating but that’s just footy.
“‘I’d like to take it out of the ref’s hand and just be better so when those calls don’t go your way it doesn’t count.”
More pressing for Stiles will be the decisions his side made in critical moments, coughing up chances in the dying stages.
“The last three years we’ve played the Tahs, we haven’t fronted up and tonight’s performance- the intensity and effort outstanding," he added.
“What went wrong was the last 15 minutes under pressure in a tight game, we lost our way.
“We had to chase and we were trying to go the length of the field.
“The Tahs’ line out was terrible, so maybe we should have made them kick to touch a bit better and pressure them through those facets of the game rather than putting pressure on ourselves.”
The Reds have a bye this week before facing the Highlanders in Brisbane in a fortnight.