James Crombie/INPHO Dillane and Carty leave the field dejected.

Andy Friend: ‘I’m not going to complain about that try’

Connacht coach accepts decision that Hosea Saumaki’s late try was a fair call by referee, Matthieu Raynal.

ANDY FRIEND, THE  Connacht coach, has ranked today’s defeat to Leicester as the most disappointing one of his career.

The Irish side led by 18 points at one stage before a final quarter onslaught from English Premiership leaders, Leicester, saw the Tigers sneak it with a final minute try. The result leaves Connacht needing a win next week to be guaranteed of a place in the last 16.

“I probably can’t think of a more disappointing one to be honest,” said Friend of his side’s 29-28 loss. “Oh so close, but not the win. It’s very disappointing.

“We showed our character, we rallied; we came back from ten points down to be up 14-10 at half-time. We came out after the break to get two very good scores, to be up by 18 points.

“You must pay compliments to Leicester, they never give up; they kept coming. We made too many errors and stopped playing, trying to protect the lead. We just talked it about it in the shed, the reason we got the lead was because we played the brand of footie we’d been training all year. In that respect, it is a tough one to take.”

hosea-saumaki-scores-his-sides-fifth-and-winning-try-late-in-the-game-despite-john-porch Billy Stickland / INPHO Saumaki's winning try. Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

There were chances for Connacht to add to their lead during Tommy Reffell’s 10 minutes in the bin. They didn’t take them.

We’ll review that one and we’ll reflect on what could have been and should have been,” said Friend. “At the end of the day, they scored five tries to our four, and got the win.

“In the lead up to their winning try, I felt it was a turnover (from Paul Boyle), but it wasn’t to be. I actually thought (referee) Mathieu Raynal did fine in the course of the game; it’s always going to be tough.

“On first viewing (the try) I thought it was a try, on the first replay I thought the foot had gone into touch, on subsequent replays it looked like a try. I’m not going to complain about that. They went through the right process. The bottom line is we shouldn’t have let them score in the corner.”

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