Planet Rugby



Saints frustrated by 'early' whistle

29th March 2014 19:16


Jim Mallinder Northampton grumpy

Disappointed: Jim Mallinder

Northampton boss Jim Mallinder has voiced his frustration at his side being denied a last-gaps shot at victory in Saturday's home loss to Leicester.

With Leicester down to 13 men and Saints camped in the Tigers half, referee Wayne Barnes appeared to blow the final whistle fractionally early compared with the time showing on the stadium clock.

Had play continued, Northampton would have had an attacking line-out and Mallinder was left " disappointed" that his team were unable to make a final push to overturn the six-point deficit, going down 22-16.

"Wayne told me afterwards he was told the game was over," said Mallinder.

"I don't quite know who told him that. I think he is in charge. We were disappointed with that.

"There was time on the clock. Their (Leicester's) physio got his hands on the ball, Ben Foden got the ball off him and there was still time on the clock. We were pretty disappointed, 15 against 13, not to have a line-out five metres out."

Leicester made it eight Premiership games unbeaten as they consolidated their place in the title play-offs at Franklin's Gardens despite having scrum-half Ben Youngs and wing Vereniki Goneva sin-binned late on.

Mallinder added that he did not think were was any merit to Tigers hooker Tom Youngs claims of being bitten.

"I don't think there was anything in it. I would be very surprised," he said.

"I haven't looked into it, I have just come off the field. I will be speaking to Dylan (Hartley) about the incident. I would be very surprised. I have not spoken to Dylan about it, but I will do."

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill has confirmed that Youngs' claimed he was bitten.

Referee Barnes did refer it to television match official Trevor Fisher, who could not find an evidence of foul play.

Match citing commissioner, former England lock Wade Dooley, is now likely to investigate.

"Tom said that he was bitten on the hand by someone he didn't elaborate on." said Cockerill.

"The referee referred it to the TMO, and looked at it and there was clearly nothing to look at. Maybe Tom was mistaken. It will be looked at by the relevant people."

"It's a good win for us," Cockerill added.

"I thought we played some really good stuff. By and large, we controlled the game really well.

"The set-piece was good, Owen Williams' goalkicking was outstanding, and to beat them (Northampton) here on their own patch - the first time they have lost at home in the league this season - it is a very good result for us.

"Owen has been good for us. I thought he was really good today. He ran himself to a standstill. He coped with it really well, and those kicks under pressure were fantastic.

"The key for us is to be on good form going into a semi-final. At this point, we will be going to Saints or Saracens for a semi-final. We would like to think we can go anywhere and win."

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