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'I have to be really careful what I say here' - McFarland furious over decision

By Rugby365
(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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Ulster head coach Dan McFarland was not happy with a late referee and TMO decision that denied his team a victory over the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.

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The Capetonians edged the match 23-20 after surviving an Ulster onslaught in the second half.

Trailing 0-14 after 10 minutes of magic by the Cape Town backs, Ulster fought their way back into the match and placed themselves into contention for a possible win, only to be denied by the home side’s scrum, with three crucial scrum penalties conceded within five metres of the hosts’ line.

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A crucial call two minutes from full-time denied Ulster what they thought was a match-winning try

Prop Callum Reid crashed over, but replays showed the Ulster player lost control of the ball with the help from Stormers flank Hacjivah Dayimani.

There was a lengthy discussion between TMO Quinton Immelman and referee Gianluca Gnecchi before they ruled that Reid lost the ball forward. From the resulting scrum, the home side won the penalty and could relieve field position and pressure to secure the win.

However, McFarland believes the officials made the wrong decision.

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“In my head, we’ve won that game,” he said. “It is what it is. We’ll move on. We don’t have the four points that go with winning a game.”

MacFarland added: “I have to be really careful what I say here.

“As I viewed it initially, my personal opinion of looking at it, I can’t understand why that’s not a try.

“At the moment, we’ll wait to hear what they’ve got to say. If it’s not a try because he’s not grounded it, then why is he not deliberately knocking it out of his hands and a knock-on?

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“I’ll have to wait and hear what they’re saying.”

There were a few positives McFarland could take out of his team’s performance.

“We got hit early on by some good play by them, some poor play by us, but we gradually built into the game,” said the Ulster coach.

“We found areas of the game where we put them under pressure, particularly our aerial kicking game and our game close to their line when we were able to generate a bit of momentum.

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“We built back into the game gradually. Through that second-half we put together a series of ten-minute chunks that really wore them down.

“The story would have been a different one if we’d taken a couple of chances that we should have done. We didn’t but they’re a good team.

“That was tough and then in the end we did. We put the pressure on, we’ve scored a great try, but we’ve come away with one point.”

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