Exeter v Glasgow: heartache for Warriors as late try is chalked off

Champions Cup clash goes to the wire on a tense afternoon at Sandy Park

Glasgow Warriors players react to Euan Ferrie's late try being chalked off. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Glasgow Warriors players react to Euan Ferrie's late try being chalked off. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Exeter Chiefs 19

Glasgow Warriors 17

DAVID BARNES @ Sandy Park

ALL defeats hurt, but some sting more than others, and this one will be really tough to take for Glasgow Warriors after Euan Ferrie’s injury-time try was chalked off by referee Pierre Brousset, who initially awarded the score then reviewed the TMO’s footage and decided that the flanker had let go of his bind at a scrum five metres from the Chiefs’ line and was therefore offside when he latched on to Ross Vintcent’s hashed clearance and crashed over.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for an injury-ravaged Warriors side featuring a handful of inexperienced youngsters, who took the lead on nine minutes and were still ahead in the 77th minute, having defended heroically for large chunks of the game and claimed two well-taken tries.

On the flip side, the overall performance will exorcise some of the demons of Warriors’ last two trips to Devon  which they lost 52-17 two years ago and 42-0 just over three years ago – and they can also take consolation from a losing bonus-point plus the knowledge that their destiny in terms of qualification for the Champions Cup knock-out stages is still in their own hands. They play their final pool match against Toulon next Friday night.


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Chiefs came into this contest off the back of a gruelling run of game, while Warriors were fresh from a rest week, and it showed in the early exchanges, with the visitors threatening on the left in the second minute when Josh McKay chased down Kyle Rowe‘s neat grubber, only for the final bounce to float over the Kiwi full-back’s head.

The visitors then had a golden opportunity to deploy their vaunted line-out drive, and Gregor Hiddleston thought he had marked his debut with a try when he broke from the back and flopped over, only to realise that the whistle had sounded for an obstruction

Warriors kept the pressure on and took the lead immediately after Chiefs lost Greg Fisilau to the sin-bin for head-on-head contact with Duncan Weir, with George Horne slotting the penalty.

Despite being a man down, Chiefs began to work their way into the game, and Tommy Wyatt asked questions with a winding run from the back before Huw Jones did well to get back and make the cover tackle. Tom Jordan, temporarily on the park while Weir was off for an HIA, also made a vital defensive intervention with a choke tackle on Joe Hawkins which earned a penalty and the chance to clear the danger.

Warriors then snatched the first try of the contest wen Ben Hammersley made a pig’s ear of tidying up Horne’s dink in behind, hacking the ball into Rowe’s hands, who had the pace to run it home from 30-yards, setting up an easy conversion for the recently returned Weir.

Warriors found themselves pinned back on their own line during the last five minutes of the first half. They defended stoically, but an ugly knock-on by Weir as he shaped to clear from a back-pedalling scrum handed Chiefs a chance to really turn the screw. Zander Fagerson was penalised for collapsing, Chiefs opted to scrum again, then there was an offside penalty, and eventually all that pressure told when Jacques Vermeulen muscled over from close range, with Henry Slade converting to make it a three-point game at the break. All the momentum was with the hosts.

 

After 10 minutes of arm-wrestling in midfield at the start of the second half, Warriors burst the game wide open again when Scott Cummings galloped out of his 22. Horne was inevitably in his slip-stream to carry one the move, and he fed McKay with a looping pass, before Sione Tuipulotu stepped inside the final defender and darted home.

That roused Exeter roused to launch a 10 minute onslaught, and as was the case at the end of the first half, all those one-out surges eventually created a small gap in Warriors dogged defensive line which replacement home hooker Dan Frost burst through to score to make 12-17.

Chiefs really should have tied the scores a few minutes later when second-row Lewis Pearson showcased the footballing skills of a stand-off when executing an inch-perfect cross-kick to send Zack Wimbush over on the left, but the TMO called it back for a marginal knock-on earlier in the move. It was another one of those moments when you can’t help but think that if the referee didn’t spot it straight away then why trawl back through the footage looking for a reason to neutralise a wonderful passage of play.

Warriors were forced to soak up another spell of unrelenting pressure during the final 10 minutes, and something had to give. When the score came, it was a thing of simple beauty, with a powerful scrum and slick hands sending Wimbush over.

Slade’s nerveless touchline conversion edged Chiefs into a two point lead with just two minutes left to play, but Warriors weren’t ready to raise the white flag yet, winning a turnover from the restart and spreading possession leftward to release Jordan, who surged into the Chief’s 22, exchanged passes with Rowe, then looked to offload to McKay, but the ball hit the deck and a knock-on was called just as McDowall streaked over the line.

All Chiefs needed to do was secure the scrum and get the ball into touch, but it turned into a mess with the scrum-halves wrestling each other as Ross Vintcent scrambled at the base then sclaffed his kick. Ferrie, just off the bench for his first appearance of the season, snatched possession then barged over the line for what appeared to be the game-clinching try.

Chiefs players and supporters howled in indignation, and Brousset engaged with the TMO, before eventually deciding that Ferrie had become detached from the scrum and was therefore in an offside position when he took possession of the ball.

The change of decision was greeted by raucous celebration from all connected with Chiefs, which highlighted how deep they’d had to dig for this win.

 

Teams –

Exeter Chiefs: T Wyatt (Z Wimbush. 60); I Feyi-Waboso, H Slade, R O’Loughlin (J Hawkins 9), B Hammersley; H Skinner, T Cairns (S Townsend 56); A Hepburn (N Abuladzeb 48), J Yandle (D Frost 48), E Painter, (J Iosefa-Scott 48), R Tuima, L Pearson, E Roots, J Vermeulen, G Fisilau (R Vintcent 56).

Glasgow Warriors: J McKay; H Jones, S Tuipulotu, S McDowall, K Rowe; D Weir (T Jordan 9-22, 72), G Horne; O Kebble (J Bhatti 53), G Hiddleston (G Turner 53), Z Fagerson, S Cummings, A Samuel (R Gray 53), A Miller (E Ferrie 78), M Fagerson, H Venter.

Referee: Pierre Brousset

 

Scorers –

Exeter Chiefs: Tries: Vermeulen, Frost Wimbush; Con: Slade 2.

Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Rowe, Tuipulotu; Con: Weir 2; Pen: Horne.

Scoring sequence: 0-3; 0-8; 0-10; 5-10; 7-10 (h-t) 7-15; 7-17; 12-17; 17-17; 19-17.

 

Yellow card –

Exeter Chiefs: Fisilau (9 mins)

 

Attendance: 12,155


Opinion: Mark Dodson lined his pockets and Scottish Rugby paid the price

About David Barnes 3821 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

23 Comments

  1. Seems like Finn Russell is running the backs in the Bath changing room. If he gets to do that for Scotland we’re in far a rollercoaster six nations. I can’t wait. Bring it on. Come on you flowers.

  2. Forgot to mention the non red card when Weir got hit in the face and the ref seemed to be looking for a reason to reduce it to yellow even trying to say that the tackle was on the ball first and then rode up to the head which it did not. This was pointed out by the TMO as a direct hit to the head but he still reduced it to yellow. Just watching the Bath game and a tackle straight to the head from Barbery was similarly only given a yellow much to the surprise of the pundits.

    Has there been a softening of referees position on giving reds – seem to be more reluctant than previously – not a good move for me. Any upright tackle that makes contact with the head should be red.

    • yes is the straight answer. Started at the RWC, how else do we explain the non red card against the Bok centre in our opening match. Followed by many similar cases at the RWC and all competitions this season. Not least today, Bath v Racing

    • I’m not going to accuse referees of cheating as I don’t believe that is the case at all, but there must be at least some unconscious bias at play here. While the dreadful “tackles” on Weir and the Racing player only resulted in yellow cards, a Scarlets player was red carded on Saturday for head contact in an away game at Claremont. It was certainly no worse than the other ones, but oddly enough in all three cases the decision went with the home team. This kind of inconsistency and possibly “bottling it” by referees is very damaging to the game and makes a mockery of the idea that player safety is paramount.

    • Down to the players and coaches to make the changes the rules require. If the referees follow the rules rigidly there will be three or four red cards every game.

  3. I thought this would be a comfortable win for Exeter. Brilliant performance to get so close. This period where we have been without key players has been really interesting. Glasgow has tweaked their gameplan a little and are kicking more for territory. And the performances from players in the wider squad has been great. Credit to the players and coaches.

  4. Far too many games are being decided on interventions by the TMO, who then proceeds to get the decision completely wrong. It’s not doing the game as a whole any favours. But don’t expect it to change any time soon.

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  5. Great performance and a sickener at the end. I’m still not sure of the basis for the try being disallowed at the end. The scrum had collapsed and their number 8 picked the ball up. Ferrie still had a hand on the side of the scrum and in fact our open side had broken off to tackle their number 8 before Ferrie – a tough call.

    Thought the team played really well and looked so much more dangerous than Exeter if only a couple of bounces had gone our way in the first half we could have been further ahead. We did way better than expected and great games from the youngsters – Hiddleston did well hitting all his throws bar one and wisely throwing to the front as well as looking good in the loose – a great debut at this level. I thought Samuel did well also and the back row were all outstanding. In the backs Rowe Tuipulotu and McDowall were great.

    With all the players missing this was a great performance and so next week we need to beat Toulon to progress to the last 16

  6. Did not expect to be so disappointed today, which is real testimony to the team and the effort all round the park. Great performance – just gutted about the outcome….. some 1st choice players gonna need to fight to get back in, which is a great place to be as a squad.

  7. Thought we had that one, it just needed McKay to hold on to that final pass. There were a few passes just missing their mark today. The final play with Ferrie was so close, I thought the Exeter player kicking the ball marked the end of the scrum and Ferrie could then play it as he was still holding on to a team mate when he kicked it.
    That said we played well today , the defense against a team that scores tries from forward play in the red zone was excellent. Thought Ventor the Fagerson ‘s, Weir, Horne were excellent. Huddleston did very well , his line out was very good and he played his part in the scrum and around the park.
    Munster have beaten Toulon so it’s all down to us next weekend.

    • Hiddlestone, debut on a big euro cup game, was just excellent. And a very big unit. His time in S6 has seen him grow and earn his chance. going to eb a top player for Glasgow methinks

  8. Utterly corrupt refereeing in the mould of RWC. IRB has to totally change the way refs are clearly showing bias to higher ranked sides. Clear red card for the hit on Weir. Ref trying to claim contact was on the ball / chest was staggering and even when told to look again by tmo it was obvious he would not give red no matter what. Other way around and Glasgow player would have seen red. As for the scrum at the end it was a clear pen to Glasgow for their loose head hinging. Obviously he wouldn’t give that but to penalise Ferries for not being bound to a collapsed scrum was shocking. Footage showed that their no8 had already detached anyway. No way IRFU would allow their sides to be robbed like that so hopefully new CEO is engaged enough to confront this corruption. On the park great to see so many Scottish youngsters making really positive contributions in one of the toughest places to visit in Europe. Bizarre that money was wasted to give Peterson game time and to block likes of Samuel n Williamson getting on park. Players deserved the win but still lot to be positive about in the actual performance

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    • the current CEO challenged WR corruption in Japan. We got fined for that and howls of raging criticism on here.
      Peterson was signed because we did not have Cummings or Gray, both at RWC, and Du Preez out for the season. Left with 3 locks, 2 of whom were kids; and one of the 3 also soon long term injured.
      Samuel and Williamson have been well managed, seen good exposure to top level and will be the better for that introduction. High hopes for both

      The non red card was disgraceful. Same as at the world cup, find an excuse not to have a red. Spoils the spectacle apparently, and that is more important than a real disincentive to foul play and player welfare

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      • So…. the S6 had that many games with no 2nd rows??? Wow…..both Leinster and Ulster dipped into club rugby players during early part of URC whilst Glasgow left Scottish players on bench getting ‘checks notes’ almost less than 29 min game time between them….did Peterson being on park achieve anything that Samuel or Williamson couldn’t?? Course not….it did make make money for the scouts / agents Dodson however

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      • 21 year olds aren’t kids and they’ve have not been ‘well managed they’ve been ignored’….look at how every other tier 1 n even 2 nation deals with talent. They dont give them 90 Seconds at end of matches they get to play. We would rather have 31 yr no mark non Scot than try a young Scottish player.

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      • He didn’t challenge corruption at RWC….he threw a tantrum about a protocol HE signed up to !! As for 2nd row there were a minimum of 14 odd second row in S6 that could have been called using neither Samuel or Williamson are ‘kids’…..every other tier 1 nation bloods players that age without cringing. They need game time not time in the stands. Ulster and Leinster had no issue with dipping into club rugby for players this season yet we in a period of losing nearly £11 million spent money on a player to literally prevent young Scots getting game time. No serious rugby nation would do that

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    • Red card all day but ref was looking not to give a red by inexplicably suggesting contact was made with the ball before the head. Absolutely astonishing when all the replay angles showed it was direct contact to the head with no contact whatsoever with the ball and the defender not making any attempt to lower his tackle height and wrap an arm. Refereeing and TMO review of the last scrum play was shameful. Glasgow got a shove on at the first scrum and Exeter front row collapsed but ref called a reset despite George Horne and Matt Fagerson being clearly picked up on the mic protesting that the Glasgow scrum was going forward. Then at the reset scrum – before the Ferrie incident – under pressure the Exeter loose head’s knee clearly went to ground, which caused the scrum to collapse and thus should have been a penalty to Glasgow. Again the ref inexplicably missed this, even though it was right in front of him. The ref then awards on field try to Ferrie – deeming the grapple between the two 9s a fair contest – and we subsequently have to suffer the distasteful sight on live TV of Rob Baxter – aka Franz Beckenbauer in the 1975 European Cup Final after Peter Lorimer scored for Leeds – refereeing the game by intervening via his mic and headphones with clear instructions to his colleagues at touch side to get the message across to the Exeter players to protest to the ref and call for a TMO review. You can watch the TMO replay and make up your own minds but it seems to me that Ferrie is carefully watching Exeter 8 movements and times his detachment from the scrum after Exeter 8 had already detached. To rub salt into the wounds, we then have to suffer Rob Baxter after the game on live TV lecturing that the try should have been chalked off for any number of offences such as George Horne interfering with Exeter 9 (which the ref from a distance of 1m adjudged a fair contest) and Ferrie detaching early. No wonder the normally calm and gracious Franco Smith appeared irritated when interviewed on TV. Unfortunately, Rugby Union is a game that is too often decided by questionable officiating (including TMO reviews). It’s becoming an uncomfortable truth that the game’s administrators need to address. If the TMO review calls that Ferrie detached before Exeter 8 then at least the TMO should review the full scrum from the feed and penalize the Exter loose head for dropping the knee to the ground which caused the scrum to collapse before Exeter 8 and Ferrie detach. On the plus side, a top effort by Glasgow. Samuelson, Hiddleston and Miller all looked comfortable at this level, which bodes well for Scottish rugby. Tui was outstanding and Venter and Mckay have been immense in the past few games. Kebble also looks back to form after his run of injuries. Had the bounce of the ball been kinder during a few line breaks then Glasgow would have won this game even before the last scrum.

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    • Tackle on Weir was a red card but the ref inexplicably suggested the tackler made contact with the ball before head when all the TMO replay angles clearly showed it was head on head with no contact made with the ball. Indefensible!

      Then the officiating of the last scrum was shameful. At the first scrum Glasgow got a shove on and the Exeter front row collapsed but the ref inexplicably called a reset instead of a penalty to Glasgow. You could hear Horne and Matt Fagerson protesting to the ref that the Glasgow scrum was going forward when it collapsed. Then at the reset scrum, the Exeter loose head knee clearly goes to ground which caused the scrum to collapse again. It’s all there on live TV! Clear penalty to Glasgow but the ref inexplicably doesn’t call it. Ref then calls on field try to Ferrie deeming the grapple between the two 9s a fair contest and notably there is no protest from the Exeter players who head towards the posts to receive the conversion. It is also notable that the Exeter captain Slade is 30m away from the scrum on the open side with Ferrie on the blind side so there is no way Slade can see if Ferrie has detached illegally. We then have to suffer on live TV the shameful sight of Rob Baxter giving instructions down his mic to the Exeter water carriers to get a message on the field to Slade to protest to the ref. Slade subsequently walks 40m up to the ref who is situated outside the 22 at the touchline next to Horne who is preparing for the conversion and the ref then asks the TMO to review the scrum. On review, the TMO doesn’t even check the Exeter loose head knee on the ground causing the scrum to collapse. It can then be observed from the replays that Ferrie is carefully watching Exeter 8 movements at the base of the scrum and Exeter 8 shoulders are detached before Ferrie’s shoulder detaches. So between the ref and the TMO there are 3 incorrect calls at that last scrum. When the ref explains the decision, Tuipuloto could be heard protesting to the ref about the scrum collapse by Exeter. Throughout the TMO review of the TV replays from the different angles, none of the clowns on the TV commentary – Hastings and Flatman – pick up the Exeter loose head knee going to ground which causes the scrum to collapse. But the lowest point today was the shameful intervention by Rob Baxter and then having the gall during the post game interview on TV to say that the Glasgow try shouldn’t stand for several infringements as if to justify his intervention. Rugby Union has become a “Circus”! It was a pity for Glasgow because there were some standout performances – particularly the 3 younger guys who all looked comfortable at this level, and also from Tui, Mckay and the impressive Venter who has been immense the past few games. Franco Smith looked justifiably irritated during his post match interview but I am sure he will take great pride in the form showed by the 3 younger guys. On another day with a friendlier bounce of the ball and a crisper final pass, Glasgow would have been out of sight well before the last scrum.

    • Tackle on Weir was a red card but the ref inexplicably suggested the tackler made contact with the ball before head when all the TMO replay angles clearly showed it was head on head with no contact made with the ball. Indefensible!

      Then the officiating of the last scrum was shameful. At the first scrum Glasgow got a shove on and the Exeter front row collapsed but the ref inexplicably called a reset instead of a penalty to Glasgow. You could hear Horne and Matt Fagerson protesting to the ref that the Glasgow scrum was going forward when it collapsed. Then at the reset scrum, the Exeter loose head knee clearly goes to ground which caused the scrum to collapse again. It’s all there on live TV! Clear penalty to Glasgow but the ref inexplicably doesn’t call it. Ref then calls on field try to Ferrie deeming the grapple between the two 9s a fair contest and notably there is no protest from the Exeter players who head towards the posts to receive the conversion. It is also notable that the Exeter captain Slade is 30m away from the scrum on the open side with Ferrie on the blind side so there is no way Slade can see if Ferrie has detached illegally. We then have to suffer on live TV the shameful sight of Rob Baxter giving instructions down his mic to the Exeter water carriers to get a message on the field to Slade to protest to the ref. Slade subsequently walks 40m up to the ref who is situated outside the 22 at the touchline next to Horne who is preparing for the conversion and the ref then asks the TMO to review the scrum. On review, the TMO doesn’t even check the Exeter loose head knee on the ground causing the scrum to collapse. It can then be observed from the replays that Ferrie is carefully watching Exeter 8 movements at the base of the scrum and Exeter 8 shoulders are detached before Ferrie’s shoulder detaches. So between the ref and the TMO there are 3 incorrect calls at that last scrum. When the ref explains the decision, Tuipuloto could be heard protesting to the ref about the scrum collapse by Exeter. Throughout the TMO review of the TV replays from the different angles, none of the clowns on the TV commentary – Hastings and Flatman – pick up the Exeter loose head knee going to ground which causes the scrum to collapse. But the lowest point today was the shameful intervention by Rob Baxter and then having the gall during the post game interview on TV to say that the Glasgow try shouldn’t stand for several infringements as if to justify his intervention. Rugby Union has become a “Circus”! It was a pity for Glasgow because there were some standout performances – particularly the 3 younger guys who all looked comfortable at this level, and also from Tui, Mckay and the impressive Venter who has been immense the past few games. Franco Smith looked justifiably irritated during his post match interview but I am sure he will take great pride in the form showed by the 3 younger guys. On another day with a friendlier bounce of the ball and a crisper final pass, Glasgow would have been out of sight well before the last scrum.

  9. A great display from Glasgow, especially the youngsters who started the game. Honourable doffs of the cap to Horne, Weir and Tui as well.

    Disgrace of a decision at the end, ref was clearly nobbled by Exeter and Glasgow were denied a famous victory. I wonder what would have happened had it been Exeter or another big gun scoring that…..

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      • I think it’s fair to say the Exeter PR machine went into “overdrive” following the initial award of the try. It’s all on Rugby24 website for anyone who is interested – full game including the controversial last few minutes. I add a disclaimer as to whether that website has the rights to show the full replays of the games or not but anyway it’s all on there. Try is awarded, high up in the stand an animated Rob Baxter is immediately barking instructions on his mic down to pitch side, a plethora of water carriers pitch side subsequently rush onto the field and “hey presto” Henry Slade is subsequently seen stalking the referee and George Horne all the way beyond the 22m line, conveniently loitering in the line of wee George’s conversion which is being lined up. The ref then goes to the TMO for a review. However, what is more sinister is that whilst the Exeter machine appeared to be sufficiently well drilled to execute a plan to delay the conversion long enough to allow the ref and TMO to call for a review before the kick could be taken, when the review takes place it is “clear and obvious” that the Exeter loose head’s knee goes to ground as the initial shove comes on, the sanction for which under the scrum laws is a penalty to Glasgow. Ref should have spotted this in real time (I did on the live game TV) as it’s an obvious infringement right in front of the ref and actually caused the scrum to collapse. However, for the TMO and ref not to pick this up during the review, when it’s clear and obvious on the replays and, moreover, caused the scrum to collapse, is unforgiveable. Everything that followed the collapsed scrum is largely for chit chat (despite the UK Sunday papers and all the rugby media forums somewhat worryingly devoting all their space and time to whether wee George assaulted Exeter 9 at the base of the scrum or whether Exeter 9 took a dive or whether Ferrie detached before Exeter 8 or not, without mentioning the Exeter knee on the ground apart from a few sober punters who correctly called out the kneeling infringement on some forums). Here’s the rub – during the review if the try is chalked off for an illegal detachment then the ref needs to come back and award the penalty to Glasgow for the Exeter knee on the ground (scrum collapse or not the sanction is a penalty), because it’s clear on the replays that the sequence of events started with the kneeling and this was the first sanctionable offence. When the ref consulted the review decision to Tui and Slade, Tui could be heard asking the question to the ref about the collapsed scrum but the ref closed off any discussion on this. Post game Rob Baxter (who by the way magically appeared on the touchline as the final whistle was blown and was the first person to shake the ref’s hand) was lecturing anyone who would listen that he was sure the try would be overruled if referred to a TMO review due to any one of a number of Glasgow offences. There was no mention by Rob of his own loose head’s dropped knee that caused the scrum to collapse, which set off the subsequent chain of events, despite this being clear and obvious from the review angles. As is par for Scottish rugby, Glasgow will take it on the chin and move on to Friday’s game. Often, at elite level sport the difference between glorious failure and success requires the integrity of the game to be sacrificed. Mister C above suggests Exeter “nobbled” the ref. I would say there was some pressure exerted by the Exeter machine on the ref following the award of the try. Slade is allowed as captain to ask a question to the ref but loitering in front of the conversion kicker is a poor look. Rob Baxter said the last scrum was farcical. I would agree that the illegal dropped knee was the root cause of the farce that followed, but Rob Baxter overlooked to mention this. Proud of the Glasgow boys who are playing some great stuff but top level rugby is becoming an increasingly difficult watch from an integrity perspective.

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