Harlequins left it late to secure a crucial victory over Gallagher Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs at The Stoop yesterday, but it took a contentious penalty try from referee Christophe Ridley to make sure of it.
It was an epic Premiership encounter between two sides which were very evenly matched. Harlequins had the upper hand heading into the final 10 minutes, as the Chiefs lost both Ollie Devoto and Nick Auterac to yellow cards as the home side piled on the pressure in search of a late win.
And they almost had it before time was up, as Ridley gave Quins a scrum penalty advantage before bizarrely calling advantage over just as the ball had been shipped to Quins’ winger Gabriel Ibitoye, who merely had to stroll over the line for the try.
Referee Ridley admitted that he had made a mistake, apologising to the Harlequins players. It initially appeared that Ridley had potentially cost the home side the victory but this was rectified after countless scrum penalties handed them a penalty try to win the match.
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Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter was left rather bemused at the final whistle and sought clarification from Ridley as to why the try was awarded given that the likelihood of Quins scoring from the scrum was minimal.
Whether or not Ridley was simply making up for his previous error is not clear, but it certainly got people talking at the end of what had been a classic affair between the two sides.