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Saturday Jun 5, 2021

HUGE controversy sees Borthwick call Pat Lam a liar during heated Prem clash

Saturday’s Premiership clash between Leicester Tigers and Bristol Bears ended in dramatic fashion following disagreements over the substation of John Afoa.

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The Bristol tighthead was substituted earlier on in the match for tactical reasons, according to the Bristol manager, however director of rugby Pat Lam later claimed the prop was removed for injury reasons.

This is because Bristol’s replacement prop Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro was sent to the sin bin during a defensive scrum in overtime, which according to the rules meant the visitors had to bring Afoa back on and sacrifice another player to keep the scrums contested.

However because Leicester were piling on the pressure and trailed by just three points, Lam seemed to want Afoa to stay off the field by claiming he was injured, potentially in a bid to gain uncontested scrums.

Referee Ian Tempest then told Lam that because the yellow card was awarded for an infringement at a scrum, if Bristol could not perform contested scrums then they would have to remove a second player as well as the sin binned prop, which the Bristol boss agreed to.

However a sudden change in heart from either Lam or Afoa meant the former All Black was ruled fit to come back on and take part in the contested scrum, leaving Borthwick enraged on the sidelines calling Lam a liar.

Ironically Afoa managed to hold the scrum steady, arguably getting the better of Ellis Genge in the front row, until Bristol scrum half Andy Uren appeared to steal the ball illegally and kick it out to end the game.

This lead to handbags on the sideline after full time as Bristol came away with a controversial 23-26 win.

On the one hand Leicester would have wanted Afoa back on so they could continue putting pressure on the visitors’ scrum, but at the same time if Afoa had stayed off then they would have guaranteed possession from the set piece with two extra players.

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