CONNACHT coach Andy Friend said referee Karl Dickson was right in his decision to show Jamison Gibson-Park a yellow card for a high tackle on Kieran Marmion in their first leg loss of the Heineken Champions Cup round of 16 against Leinster.
The England official took his time reviewing the footage before deciding the Irish scrum half didn’t use force as he shouldered his opponent’s head.
Friend said the call was the right one, but he expressed some frustration at the inconsistency in refereeing around contact with the head after Tom Daly was sent off at the last meeting between the sides in the United Rugby Championship two weeks ago.
The Gibson Park decision came at a critical point in the game and Connacht used his 10 minutes off the pitch to cut the lead in an epic battle that ended with Leinster going into the second leg by a five-point lead in the next Aviva Stadium went Friday.
“I thought it was a yellow. I think there’s so much conjecture around these things right now. For me there was one angle that didn’t make it look good, there were two other angles that you didn’t think there was much more it could do,” Freund said.
“Now he’s definitely slammed his shoulder in the face but I think we have to watch out there’s a game. I didn’t think there was an intention.
“I didn’t think Tom Daly’s tackle a few weeks ago (against Leinster) was intentional. There were other circumstances. This one had a second defender so you can understand one player, Kieran, falling.
“I was fine with that to be honest, but you just don’t know at this point if it’s going to play out, yellow card, red card. I thought the right decision was made.”
While proud of his team’s performance, Friend was disappointed to leave The Sportsground in defeat.
“We’re in, but we didn’t come here tonight to lose, we came here to win. We had a few chances and unfortunately missed them,” said the Australian.
“We’re five points down now but we can take a lot from this game. It’s really important to emphasize that. There were some really good parts in it. There were parts where we need to improve, but we know what we need.” to do to fix that.
“We have seven days to reverse that and go to the Aviva and hopefully get better again.
“One thing we can be really happy with is that we’ve seen some of our best moments this year against a very good rugby team in attack and defense. If any of our players had any doubts about the systems we put in place, that’s now put to rest.
“It’s about everyone sticking to the system and doing that. We did it for big plays tonight and I thought we did very well.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/champions-cup/i-was-okay-with-it-to-be-honest-connacht-coach-andy-friend-backs-controversial-high-tackle-call-for-leinster-41536475.html ‘Honestly, I was fine with that’ – Connacht coach Andy Friend backs controversial call for high tackles for Leinster