Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd says too much is being made of the no-try decision which went against the Chiefs late in their Super Rugby cliffhanger.
Chiefs counterpart Dave Rennie was furious at the decision by TMO Vinny Munro to rule a knock-on against Chiefs flanker Sam Cane after teammate Augustine Pulu had crossed for an apparent try late in their 22-18 loss in Wellington on Saturday.
The try was referred to Munro by referee Glen Jackson and deemed no try, a decision which Rennie says was blatantly wrong because the ball had been illegally knocked out of Cane’s hands by Hurricanes prop Chris Eves in the depths of a ruck.
Boyd admits on the balance of probabilities that Munro had been wrong.
However, he says it is inaccurate to say it robbed the Chiefs of victory.
“If you looked at it frame by frame a number of times, you’d probably say on average that the most likely outcome would be a penalty to the Chiefs,” he said.
“But you certainly couldn’t have allowed the try to continue.”
He pointed out that Cane had acted illegally in scooping the loose ball back while off his feet, so the best outcome for the Chiefs would have been a penalty, with just one minute remaining in the game.
The result pushed the Hurricanes 13 points clear of the Chiefs and Highlanders at the top of the standings with four rounds to play.
Boyd said there had been five or six contentious calls in a tense game but only the Pulu ruling had been highlighted.
“As coaches, we all tend to look at it from our own eyes.
“We play a massively complex game where there is a genuine contest for the ball.”
Boyd doesn’t think Munro should be dropped, believing match officials should only come under threat if they repeatedly make the same mistakes.
Meanwhile, Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith is a confirmed non-starter for Saturday’s game against the Blues in Auckland.
It was always planned for the All Blacks centre to have a rest and that decision was helped by a foot niggle.
Smith exited the Chiefs game with a head knock but Boyd says tests showed he hadn’t suffered concussion.
All Blacks prop Ben Franks is a 50-50 proposition after aggravating an achilles tendon injury.
If he is ruled out, a prop will need to be sought from outside the squad to face the Blues because loosehead Reggie Goodes has been suspended one game for a dangerous charge which injured Chiefs lock Michael Allardice.