Mike Blair perplexed by big TMO decision on Henry Pyrgos as Edinburgh are stung by Wasps

Mike Blair said he was proud of aspects of Edinburgh’s performance but was left scratching his head at some of the refereeing decisions as Wasps won the Challenge Cup quarter-final 34-30 at the DAM Health Stadium.

The lead changed hands four times in the second half and there was controversy in the 79th minute as Edinburgh tried to salvage the game.

With Wasps leading by four points, the home side were deep inside the opposition 22 when Henry Pyrgos had the ball slapped out of his hands by Wasps flanker Brad Shields as he tried to pass from the base of a ruck.

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Pierre Brousset, the French ref, initially awarded a penalty to the English side much to the chagrin of the Edinburgh players.

Brousset asked the TMO if he needed to reverse the decision and, after an age, it was decided to award Wasps a scrum. Blair felt Pyrgos had been stymied illegally by Shields.

“I thought some of the calls were right and I couldn’t understand a couple of the other calls,” said the Edinburgh coach.

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“This is one where I’ve got to check my laws because whether he [Shields] is part of the ruck or not – and I don’t think he came from behind the back foot – you still can’t go off your feet and slap at the ball.

“Whether he’s brushed Henry’s hand on the way through, you can’t jump off your feet in my opinion. But I’ll check that and I may be eating humble pie.”

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Edinburgh captain Grant Gilchrist watches on as referee Pierre Brousset watches replays of the Henry Pyrgos incident on the big screen at the DAM Health Stadium. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Blair thought Edinburgh had been more clinical than they had been in the URC defeat by Ulster last weekend but was left to rue a couple of sloppy moments when they failed to deal with Wasps restarts.

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“I thought we played some brilliant rugby at times,” said Blair. “We took our opportunities better than last week, although we probably still left a couple out there, and defended with a huge amount of heart.

“But just a few things, like a couple of kick-offs that we lost where we had fought that momentum back, it was like bursting a balloon. Suddenly you're up against it again, and that can have a big impact. So that was disappointing.”

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Edinburgh coach Mike Blair felt Wasps flanker Brad Shields should have been penalised. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)