Saracens head coach Mark McCall defended Schalk Brits after the hooker was red carded for throwing a punch against Gloucester on Saturday.
The Springbok front-row was given his marching orders on 29 minutes at Allianz Park after striking Cherry and Whites prop Nick Wood.
But after Saracens managed to claim victory by 25 points to 12, McCall told the media that his forward was reacting after being trapped.
"Schalk has obviously struck him on the head, but if you look at the incident, then Schalk's knee is trapped as Nick Wood clears him out," he said.
"Schalk is almost frightened and is trying to get him off him as quickly as he can. He did the ACL on that knee last November so there was a bit of fear there. He swung to get the player off you."
McCall added on the victory: "That was probably our best win of the season after what happened last weekend.
"It takes the wind out of your sails when you lose a player like that. We'd already done 10 minutes without Brad Barritt and were then playing into the wind in the second half.
"It was a phenomenal effort from everybody, most particularly from our forwards."