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In what was easily the worst weekend for the provinces since I can remember, not much else has been talked about since Friday night. In what is easily the biggest controversy to strike the league in a good while, Pat Lam’s comments about touch judge Leighton Hodges have sent ripples throughout Irish and Welsh media after Cardiff Blues robbed Connacht of a victory at the start of the weekend.
Referee for the day Lloyd Linton and touch judge Leighton Hodges not only failed to notice a blatant knock on, but appeared to call up for what was a perfectly legal move on Connacht’s part who thought they had ended the game at the Arms Park that over five minutes of stoppage time. Lam’s post match interview was far from a dull affair as he went on to say that an incident involving Leighton Hodges and a car park before the westerners match against Edinburgh had brought the game into disrepute stating the Welshman said “this will cost you at least seven points in the game”. The head coach has already been charged for his comments, but once again it highlighted what is one of many reasons that is tarnishing the reputation of the league this season. The officiating is incredibly poor and far from it for me to suggest that officials are biased, the man in the middle and colleagues around him should be from neutral nations.
Naturally fans of the province are upset and if Connacht don't make the Champions Cup next season in a year when they have improved so drastically, they surely will look back on this game as one of the main reasons or even the proverbial turning point. Albeit for me to defend Lam, I am never one for berating the officials but in what was a blatant sham of a final ten minutes at the Arms Park, it’s high time somebody said something.
With the latter stages of the league coming up, Connacht now must press on and put this grim affair behind them and not let it derail them from finishing in a respective position. But needless to say, everyone is taking notice and the west is most certainly awake.
Kristian. 20. Geordie. Fond of Wasps, Falcons and Ulster. @Kristian7Ross
Here are links to a couple of related threads on the HoR Facebook page...
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