Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter had no complaints with the red card handed out to Jack Yeandle during their 25-20 Premiership defeat to Sale.
Yeandle was sent off with the Chiefs 12-8 ahead following tries for Facundo Cordero and Sean Lonsdale – after Byron McGuigan put the home side ahead – but they were pegged back at the interval after Bevan Rodd touched down for Sale.
Exeter continued to battle, however, and Sam Simmonds’ second-half effort put them in front, but Curtis Langdon’s try and an AJ MacGinty penalty helped the hosts secure the win.
“I couldn’t hear the referee and couldn’t see the big screen from a distance,” Baxter said. “From what I’ve been told, he went through the process of shoulder to the head with no clear grasp.
Can’t have any complaints
“We’ve been told that’s what happened so I can’t have any complaints if that’s the process he’s gone through and that’s what everyone has seen.
“If that’s what has happened and it’s been that clear, I can’t have any complaints about that.
“I’m pleased with the character. It was a bonus-point away from home in the Premiership, which is pretty good anyway. To do it with 14 men for an hour is better, but I’m still a little bit frustrated with individual things.”
Sharks boss Alex Sanderson had an element of sympathy for Yeandle, who became the latest player to be sent off in the Premiership after five red cards last weekend.
“It’s the way the game is at the moment, you’ve got to be so in control of your body, even when there’s mitigating circumstances,” he said.
“We had that with J-L (Jean-Luc Du Preez) where he got a yellow (against Harlequins) but it could have been a red.
“Has the needle swung too far one way? Was there intent or was it just a cleanout that went wrong? Maybe it’s got to swing back a little bit than where it is right now.
“But it’s for the right reasons so I can’t complain, it’s about player safety, so you’ve got to back those decisions from the referees and governing bodies.”
Following the result, Sale moved back into the play-off places and closer to second-placed Exeter in the table.
Despite having a man advantage for the whole second half, they had to fight for the win and Sanderson thought that the Chiefs were galvanised by the sending off.
“I’ve been in establishments with 14-men – beat Racing at home and beat Ospreys away (with Saracens) – and it focuses your mind on every play,” he added.
🟥 Jack Yeandle sent off as Sale beat champions Exeter.
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) February 26, 2021
“The best teams can do that, Exeter can do that. We had to produce a relentless performance and for the most part I thought it was in terms of our application.
“When application roles into ill-discipline, that’s when we can let teams back in, which is what we did.
“We’ll take that win and we can build on it. It was more of an 80-minute performance, even though the discipline let us down at times.”