“The players know 100 per cent it happened.”
Bristol Bears director of rugby Pat Lam has questioned the lack of camera angles available to the TMO for a knock-on decision that could have ruled out a Bordeaux Begles try.
Bordeaux ran out as 36-17 winners against the Gallagher Premiership league leaders in the end, but the scoreline flattered the home side thanks to two tries in the last 10 minutes of the match.
The first of those final two tries was called into question by Lam, as it appeared Bordeaux number eight Scott Higginbotham had knocked the ball on in the build-up to the try.
A colossal battle at Stade Chaban-Delmas 😰
— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) April 4, 2021
However, there were a limited number of camera angles that sufficiently showed the incident, and referee Mike Adamson and TMO Neil Paterson ultimately decided that there wasn’t clear evidence of a knock-on.
Pat Lam – ‘We will leave it to Joel Jutge to sort out’
Lam was speaking to PA Media after the game and said he would raise the incident with EPCR referees director Joel Jutge.
“We have to go through a process, but we had the advantage of seeing the incident live and the players know 100 per cent it happened. Unfortunately, suddenly there is no footage of it,” Lam said.
“The whole bench were calling knock-on at the time, but we didn’t get the decision and we will just have to move on. We will leave it for Joel Jutge to sort out.
“We are frustrated because we know we were good enough to win that game. But this is what makes you stronger and sometimes you’ve got to get here and experience it.
Bordeaux may well have deserved to win that, but Bristol lost the lengthy trials by TMO. The knock-on before the second try is the one that’ll rankle with them the most. Shouldn’t overshadow a magnificent weekend for France.
— Nick Mullins (@andNickMullins) April 4, 2021
“We genuinely had an opportunity to win that game and we are kicking ourselves. It is hard to take but it is what we’ve got to do.”
Bordeaux will go on to play Racing 92 in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup while Bristol will turn their attention to retaining the top spot in the Premiership table.