Officials made crucial mistake in Stormers-Ulster clash

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Ulster had a 78th-minute try disallowed in the United Rugby Championship as they slipped to a 23-20 defeat to the Stormers in Cape Town, with the decision from the officials leading to plenty of debate.

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Dan McFarland’s men looked to have snatched the first victory by a northern hemisphere side in South Africa in the United Rugby Championship at the death, but a lengthy TMO review ruled that the ball had been knocked from Callum Reid’s grasp as he went over.

Ulster were celebrating when Reid crashed over two minutes from time, but – just as Billy Burns was lining up the conversion – a lengthy TMO deliberation fell in the Stormers’ favour as the South Africans held on for a third straight win in a dramatic finish.

The question seemed to revolve around whether the ball had in fact been knocked forward by Stormers replacement Hacjivah Dayimani when he dislodged it from the grasp of the Ulster player. In fact, if it had been deemed as a deliberate knock down, then it could have led to a penalty try.

When the ball was dislodged, the officials eventually decided that it went forward from Callum Reid, and a scrum was awarded to the Stormers, from which they won a penalty and relieved pressure before going on to clinch victory.

In a video reflecting on the incident, Tappe Henning has now said the fact that the on-field decision was a try, the officials needed to find overwhelming evidence to overturn that. Upon reflection, his feeling is that the ball did not end up going forward from the Ulster player and that after the ball came loose he still grounded it. Therefore, it should have been a try.

You can watch the review of the incident from the Ulster-Stormers match below:

After the game, McFarland told reporters he felt the officials had made a mistake.

“I’ve got to be careful about what I say here,” McFarland said. “But I can’t understand why that’s not a try.

“If it’s not a try, then why was it a knock-on? They deliberately knocked the ball out of our hands. I don’t get that. I’ll have to hear what they have to say about it.”

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