Centre Anton Lienert-Brown has expressed his frustration at referee Brendon Pickerill’s decision to award a match-defining penalty to the Blues without consulting the TMO first.
The Chiefs relinquished a three-point lead as they slumped to yet another agonising defeat, this time losing 21-17 to the Blues in Auckland on Sunday.
The result sees the Chiefs extend their losing streak in Super Rugby Aotearoa to six consecutive defeats and a franchise record of seven straight losses.
With the game hanging in the balance, the Chiefs went in search of a match-winning try and came close to achieving that objective in the closing moments, but then conceded a penalty for not releasing the ball right on the tryline.
The most important penalty of the season? And with that, @BluesRugbyTeam stay on the tail of the Crusaders.
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) July 26, 2020
But Lienert-Brown, who had an excellent game at outside centre, was not convinced that the right decision had been made.
‘In my opinion in a big moment we’ve got the TMO for a reason,’ Lienert-Brown said straight after the game. ‘We’ve been on the wrong side of a lot of calls this whole year and when it counted, when we needed it, why not go upstairs? I was a little bit frustrated. In a massive moment I think we’ve got to use the TMO.’
‘We are proud, we dug deep, but we didn’t get the win. That’s the frustrating thing. We need to be better in crucial moments. We had 10 minutes there when we needed to score a try and we didn’t. We’ll go away and work on that but I can’t fault the effort.
‘These are like test matches and you’ve got to win big moments and we’re on the wrong side of them at the moment.’
On his part, Chiefs coach Warren Gatland refused to share his opinion on the decision that cost his team a rare win.
‘The referee was very confident he’d made the right call so there’s no point in us dwelling on that, we’ve got to accept those decisions at the moment,’ Gatland said. ‘We’re disappointed but I was proud of the effort.
‘I’ve made some comments in the past about us being a bit unlucky and then I’ve been accused of being a whinger so I promise you I’m not going to whinge about that, I’ve just got to take that on the chin and start thinking about the Crusaders next week.’
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