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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019

'The result stands': EPCR reject Bath's request for Toulouse replay

The tournament organisers say Irish referee Andrew Brace didn’t end the match early.

BATH’S UNPRECEDENTED BID to have their Heineken Champions Cup pool fixture against Toulouse replayed because of ‘negligence’ by the match officials has been refused by the tournament organisers.

In a statement released this afternoon, the EPCR have clarified several issues arising from the Pool 1 fixture at the Rec on Saturday 13 October, which was won by Toulouse 22-20.

Toulouse's players celebrate with Sofiane Guitoune after he scored his sides third try Toulouse's victory at the Rec stands. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Bath owner Bruce Craig wrote to the EPCR requesting the match be replayed because the Premiership club were adamant referee Andrew Brace blew the final whistle with a few seconds left on the clock.

The home side felt there was still time for their attacking lineout near the Toulouse line when Brace ended the match, but the EPCR say the television match graphics — which indicated 79 minutes and 57 seconds had elapsed when the match ended — were incorrect.

Craig told The Times: “I think the game should be replayed and we will do what we can to get equity.

“This is the European Cup. There are massive sporting and financial implications. Bath have been majorly disadvantaged.”

Bath were also unhappy that two Toulouse players, Jerome Kaino and Lucas Pointud, were both cited after the match and suspended by a disciplinary tribunal for foul play — but neither received a red during the game. 

“It has been reported in the media that the match referee, Andrew Brace, blew the full-time whistle three seconds before the 80 minutes had elapsed, however, this is incorrect,” the statement read. 

The official stadium clock which was visible to players, club management and to spectators, clearly displayed that 80 minutes had elapsed. Once Andrew Brace received confirmation in his earpiece from the Official Timekeeper that time was up, he blew the final whistle.

“EPCR accepts that the disparity in this instance between the official time and the time shown on the television match graphics caused some confusion, and ways to avoid any similar situation in the future will be carefully considered by the tournament organiser.

“The result of the Pool 1 match stands.”

Toulouse, who beat Leinster in round two last Sunday, top Pool 1 ahead of the defending champions, while Bath drew 35-35 with Wasps at the weekend. 

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Ryan Bailey

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