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Standout Chiefs halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow is adamant he got under the ball and stopped Dane Coles scoring his controversial try for the Hurricanes after the final hooter on Friday night.
But even he was toeing the party line from the Chiefs that it was no use complaining about the third dubious Television Match Official (TMO) decision against them in as many games - that they should have made the game safe before that.
"I was obviously quite confident that I had my hands under the ball and stopped him short but we shouldn't need to leave it down to a TMO's decision to decide the fate of our game," Kerr-Barlow said after the match in Wellington. "There's nothing we can do about it. We'll just take it on the chin and look forward from here."
He said he knew it was hard on the TMOs to make decisions when bodies were piling over the top of the ball and it could have looked like Coles had got the ball down on the line.
"But as I said, we shouldn't have to leave it down to that and there were a lot of areas tonight that we have to improve on and where they punished us."
Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie said he had not seen the ball cross the line and be grounded there from the countless replays watched by the TMO.
"I had as many looks as everyone else I guess and it looked like [the TMO] had about 15 cracks at it before he made a decision.
"But in the end whether I thought it was a try or not probably doesn't matter. The point is we shouldn't have put ourselves in that situation so we've only got ourselves to blame."
When put to him that this was the third game in a row where the opposition had been awarded a dubious try by the TMO, the last two influencing the result, Rennie said: "Oh well, we might get one next game."
Captain Craig Clarke said after the game he was unsighted at the controversial moment and hadn't studied the big screen too closely. "But our boys are pretty confident they were underneath the ball," he said.
Rennie said his players often seemed to be back on their heels when others made breaks and were not able to support effectively as a result, while first-five Aaron Cruden had been calling for quicker ball and for it to be moved wider away from the concentrated defence around the edges of the rucks.
"But we just didn't release the ball and we've got to be sharper in that area. I guess we've got a couple of weeks to work it out," Rennie said.
- Waikato Times
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