Queensland Reds skipper Rob Simmons refuses to blame two costly refereeing decisions for their scrappy 15-13 Super Rugby defeat to the NSW Waratahs.
The competition battlers were on course for their first win of the season on Sunday until a yellow card to hooker Andrew Ready for kneeing Waratahs prop Hugh Roach in the second half slowed their attacking momentum.
The Reds were in a position to potentially force a second pushover try for the match, but television match official George Ayoub ruled the act was intentional, even though Roach had fallen to the bottom of the scrum and Ready was trying to propel his team forward.
Then a possible knock-on from Wallabies five-eighth Bernard Foley, as he took a quick tap before delivering the kick that would lead to the match-clinching penalty in the 68th minute, was overlooked in the thick of a frantic finish at a rainy Suncorp Stadium.
Interim co-coach Nick Stiles said the match officials got both decisions wrong, and suggested the Waratahs should have been more harshly dealt with earlier in the match for their repeated scrum infringements.
But stand-in skipper Simmons refused to use either incident as an excuse.
“Those things you’ve just got to deal with,” Simmons said.
“When you do see it on a replay it’s frustrating but that’s just footy, you can’t do anything about it.
“We’d like to take it out of the ref’s hands and just be better and put more points on the board.”
Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson saw the Reddy sin-binning as “fair” and praised his side’s game management, as they held their nerve while the raw and inexperienced Reds continually butchered their scoring opportunities in front of 17,247 fans.
But despite a successful return from injury for Foley, the Tahs came out of the match with fresh concerns over hooker Tolu Latu (hamstring) and utility Rob Horne (broken hand).
It was far from champagne rugby from either side but NSW were able to overcome the Reds’ scrum superiority and book their second win of the season – and sixth in a row against their oldest rivals.
The Reds were the better team for most of the first half and rode their set-piece dominance to a 7-0 lead, with referee Ben O’Keefe awarding a penalty try in the 13th minute.
But while they were ferocious at the contest and clear with their intent, the Reds again lacked direction in attack and blundered the chances they were able to carve out.
Queensland’s turnstile defence was also exposed as Israel Folau scored an easy first-half double, which put the Waratahs 12-10 in front at the interval.