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Dublin: 12°C Friday 23 April 2021

'We don’t seem to see eye to eye' - Laidlaw critical of Poite's performance

The Scottish captain wasn’t happy with how the referee officiated the breakdown.

GREIG LAIDLAW, THE Scotland captain, launched a highly critical post-match appraisal of Romain Poite’s performance during his side’s defeat to Ireland at Murrayfield this afternoon.

The scrum-half insisted Scotland would not blame the French referee for their 22-13 Six Nations loss, but was clearly unhappy at a number of incidents, including a heavy challenge on Stuart Hogg by Peter O’Mahony.

Greig Laidlaw during the post match press conference Laidlaw in the post-match press conference. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Hogg was forced off after 16 minutes with a shoulder injury and is now a doubt for Scotland’s trip to Paris in a fortnight.

In his post-match interview with the BBC, Laidlaw was asked about his side’s error-strewn performance, but was quick to turn the focus on Poite and his officiating at the breakdown. 

“Yeah, it certainly doesn’t help against a good team like Ireland, but there were frustrating things as well,” he said. 

“Romain Poite picked us up in the middle of the field, Sean O’Brien reefed the ball out and he’s given a knock-on and it’s right on front of him.

“He doesn’t seem to like us Romain. He refereed us against South Africa as well, and we don’t seem to see eye to eye, so. While we’re not going to blame him, we’ve got to look at ourselves, and again credit to Ireland.”

Sitting beside Townsend in the post-match press conference, Laidlaw elaborated: “There’s one moment in particular. We launched off a lineout in the second half and Sean O’Brien kind of reefed the ball and Romain was right there and he gave a knock on against us when it was clearly not a knock on.

“It was play on so you can understand why, with the way the game was going, we get frustrated. We talk about Test matches turning on small points and again that just allowed us to release the pressure valve [on Ireland].

“It was a big call in the match in my eyes so clearly from a Scottish point of view we’re disappointed with it.”

Townsend could understand his captain’s frustration.

“I think nines are always frustrated when they can’t get the ball away cleanly and quickly,” the head coach said.

Stuart Hogg leaves the pitch injured Hogg was forced off after 16 minutes. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“There was an incident on the screen with two Irish hands on the ball, and Greig ripped them away from it, and he was probably frustrated having seen that picture a number of times.

“So you can understand his frustration. But it’s a tough game to referee, Romain is an outstanding referee, and today was a proper Test match with two teams in the way they defend and compete hard at the breakdown, and is difficult for referees to manage.”

On the incident which led to Hogg’s injury, Townsend added: “It was disappointing. He chipped ahead, and he got sandwiched between two players [O'Mahony and Best]. These things happen quickly but there was a collision there that forced him to fly over and land on the point of his shoulder, and it was a big moment in the game. I think we conceded a try a minute after that, and lost one of our best players.”

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Ryan Bailey

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