Blackadder laments Exeter defeat

Date published: January 1 2017

Todd Blackadder has been left to rue an "unfair" law which caused his Bath side to finish their defeat to Exeter with 14 men.

Bath conceded a crucial try at the end of the clash while down to 14 men after starting props Nathan Catt and Max Lahiff failed head injury assessments in the first half and replacement Nick Auterac failed one in the final quarter.

Because they were no longer able to contest scrums, Michael van Vuuren, who had been on while Auterac was being assessed, had to leave the field once the HIA was over in the 73rd minute.

Law 3.6 (d) states: "In a squad of 23 players, or at the discretion of the union/match organiser, a player whose departure has caused the referee to order uncontested scrums cannot be replaced."

Blackadder said after the game he felt the rule had an "unfair" impact on his team.

"Especially with the new safety protocols in place, you actually can't cheat and get away with those sorts of things anymore," he said.

"That's probably something that needs to be looked at down the track. It was a shame to lose our props because before that I thought we had scrum dominance. It does seem a little unfair that you're penalised for that, but not very often does that happen. It certainly happened tonight."

The law was initially brought in to prevent teams who were being dominated in scrums from feigning or exaggerating injuries so they could go uncontested.

Nevertheless, Blackadder was pleased with his team's first-half performance during which they built an 11-0 lead.

"I thought it was a really clinical performance – probably some of our best attack. We made a lot of line breaks, we defended well – we were pretty faultless until the last 15 minutes," Blackadder said.

"Exeter hung in there the whole game and really fought to stay in it, then took their opportunities. I tip my hat to them, they did well. It was just a shame to lose those props, but that's life."