‘Confused’ Stuart Hooper questions refereeing as Bath lose to Bristol Bears
An animated Stuart Hooper blasted the refereeing officials after his Bath side were battered in the scrum at Ashton Gate to lose 25-20 to Bristol Bears. Despite the return of England international tighthead Will Stuart, Bath were second best in the scrum for almost the entirety of the titanic Premiership battle between two sides without a win heading into Round Three of the league, but top four ambitions. Despite the result, Bath produced their best display of the season scoring a brace of tries through Will Muir and a single score from Semesa Rokoduguni, however, it was a try that was ruled out that had Bath director of rugby Hooper boiling over after the match.
“They are big moments in the game, I can see them on the monitor in front of me the same as someone in the [TMO] truck has got a monitor, I don’t understand why it isn’t being looked at. “That one we scored through Max Ojomoh [in the 33rd minute] I have watched it and I can’t see anyone touching the ball and we have been called back for a forward pass or a knocking on.” Referee Ian Tempest and his refereeing team of Greg Macdonald and Jonathan Healy running the line and Karl Dickson in the truck decided Orlando Bailey – who incidentally had his best senior performance in the Blue, Black and White to date – had knocked the ball on in the build-up to a superb score.
The visitors pushed Bristol until the very last seconds of the game when the Bears ended the contest by winning a scrum penalty to add injury to insult for Hooper.
At the final whistle the hosts’ returning British and Irish Lion Kyle Sinckler was named man of the match after transforming the Bears scrum from a liability in the opening two rounds to a matching winning setpiece. But Hooper was not happy with the lottery decisions at the coalface. He said: “Ultimately penalties hurt us again.
“I will be honest I am confused, some of those scrum penalties we gave away I have never seen anything like it. “There are people watching the scrum from five yards away and arms are getting knocked out and all sorts [and it is getting missed]. I am confused at scrum time.
I am not sure what some of those calls were so I will need to go through and have a look at it in the week. “We gave away too many penalties to let them into the final third and they scored those maul tries.” Bristol skipper Steven Luatua crossed in the first half before Bath’s lineout dominance forced the hosts to kick for goal through Callum Sheedy.
But the Bears found close to their top gear after the break and under significant pressure the visitors cracked, with Tom Ellis and Tom Dunn both being yellow carded for bringing down mauls from 5m lineouts which Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam managed to correct at half time by swapping Will Capon for Scotland international Jake Kerr at hooker. Ellis was dismissed as Tempest awarded a penalty try and Dunn departed moments before his colleague returned to the field, with Bristol taking advantage of the two extra men to power over with another maul, finished by Kerr. Bath now have a bye week to lick their wounds after going three games without a win to start the 2021/22 campaign.
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Charles Piutau; 14. Ioan Lloyd, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12.
Sam Bedlow, 11. Henry Purdy; 10. Callum Sheedy, 9.
Harry Randall; 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Will Capon, 3.
Kyle Sinckler, 4. Ed Holmes, 5. Joe Joyce, 6.
Chris Vui, 7. Jake Heenan, 8. Steven Luatua (c).
Replacements: 16. Jake Kerr, 17. Jake Woolmore, 18.
Max Lahiff, 19. Fitz Harding, 20. Dan Thomas, 21.
Andy Uren, 22. Antoine Frisch, 23. Alapati Leiua.
Bath Rugby: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Will Muir, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Ollie Fox; 1 Beno Obano, 2 Jacques du Toit, 3 Will Stuart, 4 Josh McNally, 5 Charlie Ewels (C), 6 Tom Ellis, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Josh Bayliss Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Lewis Boyce, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Mike Williams, 20 Miles Reid, 21 Max Green, 22 Max Clark, 23 Anthony Watson Referee: Ian Tempest (92nd Premiership game).
Assistant referees: Greg Macdonald and Jonathan Healy.
TMO: Karl Dickson.
Citing Officer: Budge Pountney.
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