GLOUCESTER director of rugby Nigel Davies was left bemused by referee Sean Davey’s decisions after watching the Cherry & Whites slip to a narrow Aviva Premiership defeat to Saracens.
Davies’ side paid the price for their indiscipline as both Dan Murphy in the first half and Sione Kalamafoni in the second were sent to the sin bin.
Gloucester were 13-12 up at half time, thanks to Murphy’s try after Charlie Hodgson’s kick was charged down, but he soon went to the bin and when Kalamafoni was yellow carded, Richard Wigglesworth scored the decisive try.
The visitors, who had also scored a try through Akapusi Qera, fought back – Billy Twelvetrees notching 13 points in the absence of England debutant Freddie Burns – and, trailing by five points at the death, were awarded a scrum just short of the Saracens try-line.
Twice the hosts were penalised but Davey opted against awarding a penalty try and on the third, Sarries forced a penalty of their own – and Davies is not so sure the referee made the correct decision.
He said: “We outscored them two tries to one but we could have been a lot better and we always look at ourselves first, there was plenty of room for improvement.
“It was hugely frustrating, some of the stuff that was going on. In the first half we couldn’t get a phase going, every time there was a tackle there seemed to be a penalty.
“It could have gone either way at the end. There were a couple of big calls that the referee had to make. Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t. You wonder when the first two scrums weren’t sufficient to merit a penalty try. On another occasion they would have been, I’m sure.”
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall was the first to admit that Gloucester, who had previously lost just once since the opening day of the season, provided the sternest of tests in a match that could have gone either way.
He said: “It was a very close, tightly-fought match and we’re just happy we’ve come out on the right side of it.
“They got their charge-down try which was an unfortunate try to concede but we bounced right back and played some good rugby.”
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