Former Leinster and Scotland coach Matt Williams joined Monday Night Rugby to discuss Connacht's loss to Munster.
Connacht lost to Munster 20-18 at the weekend.
It was an unusual game. Jack Carty outperformed Joey Carbery and is now being discussed as a potential Ireland player. Connacht lost but have received more plaudits than Munster in the aftermath of the game. Andy Friend believes his side were the better team and he has a strong argument.
For all the performance details on either side, one big officiating decision has drawn most of the focus.
After a mostly frustrating half, Munster go in to the interval a point ahead of Connacht after Chris Cloete's try on the whistle.
— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) October 16, 2021
Chris Cloete doesn't score many tries and he shouldn't have scored this one. Cloete and Beirne were both ahead of the kicker. The TMO was available but the try stood. Cloete scored and Munster took a one-point lead into halftime.
Connacht head coach Friend spoke to the media after the game.
“It hurts, it hurts to lose a game like that, I thought we were the better team, the scoreboard does not tell you that, we ask for consistency in this game, I didn’t think we got it,” said Friend.
“I then thought, in fact I know, when Joey Carbery puts the crossfield kick in that you have got Tadhg Beirne offside. It doesn’t get looked at. It doesn’t get pored over in the same manner. So they end up getting seven points for that.
"And at the end of the day they win by two points. So I am frustrated and annoyed by that.”
Alan Quinlan spoke to Off The Ball AM on Monday. The Munster man agreed with Friend's assessment of the call. But Quinlan also went to great lengths to explain why it didn't decide the game and largely discounted Friend's complaints.
There were other mistakes and those balanced out the end result according to Quinlan.
Matt Williams disagrees.
The former Leinster coach spoke passionately in defence of Connacht. Cloete's try defined the game. It shouldn't have happened and it's unfair to expect Connacht to overcome it over 80 minutes, according to Williams.
"You've got to give Connacht a lot of credit," Williams said.
"They played really well. They took it to Munster. The better team lost. It was an appalling referee decision. How the TMO and the referee could not see Taidgh Beirne in front of the kick...he was two meters in front and that shouldn't have been a try.
"The game was defined by the errors from the officials. Awarding a try that definitely wasn't a try put a huge spin on the game in Munster's favour. It should have been a penalty for Connacht.
"How the officials missed it is beyond me."
And Williams believes this is not an isolated incident.
"The players' skill should be deciding games. It's a much broader issue than just the one we saw the other night. It definitely did rob Connacht of a victory.
"A guy I was talking to...he said to me that referees are untouchable at the moment. Within World Rugby they can't get them to reform, to listen to ways of change...They're just untouchable and they're making error after error after error. Especially at scrum time.
"We're seeing games decided by scrum penalties. The referees are getting those penalties wrong on the vast majority of cases. That's influencing the outcome of games. It's a much broader problem in the game. The best team didn't win.
"And when we're seeing that at the highest level of the game, the sport has a real problem."
Munster benefited this weekend. Munster might be on the wrong end next weekend. If World Rugby wants to move towards a meritocracy where neither team can complain about the result, they need to put a greater emphasis on officiating.
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