Bristol Bears boss Pat Lam claims his players were convinced there was a knock-on during the build-up to the crucial try that allowed Bordeaux-Begles to book their ticket into the quarter-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup.
Lam will raise the incident with EPCR referees director Joel Jutge this week and ask why it took so long to get the images of the incident and why there were so few camera angles.
In the end, Scottish referee Mike Adamson and his TMO Neil Paterson were not convinced that home number eight Scott Higginbotham had knocked on a Bristol pass in his 22. Moments later, after the ball had been hacked upfield, replacement hooker Joseph Dweba drove over for a game-breaking score.
“We have to go through a process, but we had the advantage of seeing the incident live and the players know 100 per cent it happened. Unfortunately, suddenly there is no footage of it,” said Lam.
“The whole bench were calling knock-on at the time, but we didn’t get the decision and we will just have to move on. We will leave it for Joel Jutge to sort out.
“We are frustrated because we know we were good enough to win that game. But this is what makes you stronger and sometimes you’ve got to get here and experience it.
“We genuinely had an opportunity to win that game and we are kicking ourselves. It is hard to take but it is what we’ve got to do.”
Bristol were hoping to reach the last eight in the top tier of European competition for the first time in their history and lost scrum-half Harry Randall in the second half. That forced them to end the game without a specialist number nine.
“We will review the game and either way, regardless of the performance of the referee, we will go through all the clips from the game. We are the same, not everyone gets everything right, but the way we grow, and the referees grow, is through feedback,” added Lam.
“There are more than two cameras and the coaches could hear the TMO behind us and they were asking for angles and it took time for them to come. That’s over to the referees and the broadcasters to find the feedback and to ask why it took so long.
“You’ve all seen the big games and internationals when there are usually quite a few views available. There were at times during the game, but this time there wasn’t.
“But what I was basing it on is what we saw live. The players were very clear about what they saw and that it was definitely a knock-on and we thought it was going to go back and be our ball.
“It was still a one-score game at the time and it came at a crucial stage.”
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