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Harlequins boss not happy about Exeter's winning try

By PA
Press Association

Harlequins director of rugby Tabai Matson was “frustrated” by referee Ian Tempest’s decision to award Exeter a match-winning try with the last play of the game following a possible forward pass by Scotland international Stuart Hogg.

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Christ Tshiunza crossed in the corner with the clock in the red to put Exeter 43-42 in front in another thriller between the two sides.

Tempest went back to check a potential forward pass by Hogg to prop Patrick Schickerling in the build-up, but even though Television Match Official Dean Richards said he thought Schickerling was stood in front of Hogg when he received the ball, the referee said he was not sure, and because there was not a conclusive angle he would stay with his on-field decision of a try.

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“I haven’t heard the dialogue, but the TMO is there to give the referee advice and make the game more accurate, so if the referee has chosen not to use that information, it is frustrating,” said Matson.

Harlequins came back from 31-7 down at half-time to lead 35-31 and 42-38, and Matson added: “It was a fantastic response from us to a massive challenge at half-time.

“Today is a defence coach’s nightmare, but when you get two teams with a positive fly-half, you get a game that is really open and free-flowing and that’s easy on the eye.

“But this is probably the first time since I have been here as coach that we have been obliterated in a half. We just weren’t there, our systems were off, and clearly half-time couldn’t come early enough for us.

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“But the response is always the key, and our response created a tight game and we managed to get in front.

“It was about getting our head back in the game, and the physical part, and in the second half it was more pleasing to see our defensive sets, that was the key, people getting in the right places in defence and fronting up for multiple phases, and we stopped the haemorrhaging in the second half and clearly scored some nice tries.”

Matson revealed that England prop Joe Marler had been ruled out of the game after waking up feeling ill.

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Exeter head coach Ali Hepher said: “I am pleased with the way we came through the game. We were into some tough holes there, but we always had the fight to come back, but we’ve got to learn to kill the game off earlier than we did.

“We will focus on the good stuff. We attacked incredibly well in the first half and the start of the second half and our defence backed that up. We got good turnovers as a result and we were on the front foot.

“Then we went a little bit to sleep. They are a dangerous side and they took full advantage of that, but to then wrestle it back right at the death was superb, and we should celebrate that.”

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