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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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Ding dong the ref is gone: Gauzère replaced for Munster v Saracens

The French referee managed to alienate everyone within a 370-mile radius of Thomond Park on Saturday.

Ronan O'Gara was not impressed with Gauzere's performance.
Ronan O'Gara was not impressed with Gauzere's performance.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

MUNSTER FANS CAN breathe a sigh of relief after the ERC confirmed French official Pascal Gauzère would not be refereeing their return Heineken Cup match with Saracens on Sunday.

The province’s supporters, players and coaching staff were vocal in their opinion that Gauzère had been too quick with his whistle in their 15-9 win.

Munster were penalised 18 times and three free kicks were awarded against them for early scrum engagements.

Even Oscar, the loveable Munster mascot, was spotted wagging a padded stag hoof in Gauzère’s direction.

Munster coach Rob Penney, when asked if he was confident of repeating the victory over Saracens this weekend, remarked, “Have we got the same officials?”

Penney’s opposite number, Mark McCall of Saracens, said, “I think we were the dominant scrum for definite [but] we didn’t always get the outcomes we wanted for that.”

The ERC statement read, “Pascal Gauzère was originally selected to referee the fixture, however, due to an injury to Romain Poite, he refereed the Round 3 match between the two clubs at the Thomond Park on Saturday.

“As a result, the Round 4 clash at Vicarage Road will now be refereed by Jerome Garces with Gauzère acting as Assistant Referee number one.”

Leighton Hodges of Wales will take charge of Connacht’s away match with Biarritz while Wayne Barnes is in line to oversee the Aviva Stadium clash between Leinster and Clermont Auvergne.

Welsh referee Nigel Owens, who was harsh but fair in Leinster’s Sunday defeat to Clermont, will run the rule over Ulster’s home tie against Northampton Saints.

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Patrick McCarry

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