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Bath fume over Knoyle 'assault'

bath gloucester brawl

Tempers flare at Kingsholm.

13th April 2014 08:20

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Punch: Tavis Knoyle (L)

Bath boss Mike Ford slammed Tavis Knoyle for assaulting Leroy Houston at the end of a mad West Country derby, with seven cards issued.

Referee Tim Wigglesworth sin-binned five players and sent off two, with both red cards issued to Gloucester replacements.

Sila Puafisi was sent off for a high tackle on Nick Abendanon, with Knoyle shown red after punching Leroy Houston.

Bath emerged as winners at the end thanks to George Ford's conversion, but Mike Ford was left agitated by the game's events and questioned some of the decisions made by Wigglesworth.

"We've had four yellow cards all year and we got three in one game. Derby games are very passionate and players get on the edge," said Ford.

"We pride ourselves on these challenges that occur during a game. We try and pride ourselves on figuring a way to win and understanding what is going on.

"The referees have got to understand what is going on out there. It's crucial, absolutely crucial. Why he never used the TMO, I don't know.

"I am not here to call the referee at all, honestly. I just want to be positive on what we have done."

Ford reserved extra criticism for Knoyle, the Welsh scrum-half who is leaving Kingsholm at the end of the season.

"What happened at the end with Tavis Knoyle, there is no place for that," added Ford.

"He just assaulted one of our players. We've got to defend ourselves. You can lose control, can't you?

"There were a lot of controversies during the game. We had to deal with it and the players and the decision-making on the field was fantastic.

"We are really pleased to come through a very hostile, ferocious Kingsholm and keep in the top four of the Premiership."

Aside from the number of brawls and cards shown there was further controversy surrounding the decision to go to uncontested scrums, following the red card to Puafisi.

The 26-year-old tighthead had been brought on to replace Shaun Knight, leaving Gloucester without another tighthead.

Dan Murphy was Gloucester's remaining prop on the bench but according to Gloucester could only play loosehead. He previously played at London Irish under current Bath coaches Neil Hatley and Toby Booth.

"We've got two coaches on our coaching staff who've coached him," stated Ford.

"It took a massive part of our game away. It's just not right.

"Health and safety comes first. I am not too sure the last time he played tighthead or not, but uncontested scrums are no good for the game."

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