Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Waikato had all the momentum as they made a great comeback against Taranaki in the ITM Cup on Sunday, but controversial yellow cards for forwards Liam Messam and Romana Graham halted their progress as they went down 33-23 in the end.
Taranaki escaped punishment for their part in a scuffle that looked like it was started by hooker Laurence Corlett. Corlett reacted to something which led to him striking out at Messam, who in turn retaliated, only to be joined by lock Graham for an old style scrap that is rare these days.
Somehow, the assistant referees not only failed to name Corlett as the instigator, but also tried to dog-in the Waikato number eight, who was already sitting on the bench.
Unfortunately for Waikato the two powerful forwards being sinbinned meant an end to their rousing comeback, but they did manage to show great courage as they didnt concede any points during that ten minute spell.
The home side were 30-3 down at one stage but managed to get to 30-23 and have the momentum going forward. The fisticuffs ended all that, costing them dearly. The frustration for Waikato afterwards lay with the fact that Corlett wasnt pinged at all.
The sight of two Waikato men letting loose on the solitary Taranaki hooker led to the inexperienced officials recommending cards for the Hamilton men only.
Taranaki captain Craig Clarke said he wasnt aware of exactly what happened shortly before referee Nick Briant sent the pair from the park for swinging, and quite possibly landing, a flurry of punches.
This shows yet again that when you retaliate, you're usually going to end up drawing the short straw when it comes to the onfield decisions. It's also possibly a decent case for allowing the TMO to take a look at foul play, a system that was actually trialled in the Currie Cup last season.