Guinness PRO12: Pat Lam blames Welsh official for Connacht defeat

Connacht boss to report Leighton Hodges to independent referee commissioner Ed Morrison after 18-17 defeat at Cardiff Blues

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Pat Lam left angry by Welsh official's costly "wrong call" in Blues defeat Photo by Jason O'Callaghan

Pat Lam launched a blistering attack on Welsh referee Leighton Hodges after Connacht’s dramatic 18-17 defeat to Cardiff Blues on Friday night.

The Connacht head coach was left seething at Hodges’ intervention as an assistant referee deep into overtime at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, which ultimately led to the Blues’ dramatic match-winning try in the Guinness PRO12.

Our hooker picks the ball up, it is cleared, the ref is just about to blow and then Leighton Hodges, the touch judge, says it’s hands in the ruck. A, clearly no ruck. B, clearly he knocked the ball on, and the referee is one metre away to call that.

Pat Lam

The Irish province were under siege as they tried to hold on to a 17-11 lead, but when the Blues knocked on, Hodges stepped in to advise young Scottish referee Lloyd Linton there had been hands in the ruck as Connacht cleared the ball into touch, which should have ended the contest.

Linton awarded a penalty to the Blues, in the 84th minute, and the Welsh region continued to go through the phases before Argentine Joaquín Tuculet found his way over the tryline, before Rhys Patchell nailed the clutch conversion to hand the home side the most unlikely of wins.

But speaking after the match, and aiding his complaint with video evidence on a laptop, Lam insisted there was no ruck and confirmed he will send a report on the incident to the PRO12 independent referee commissioner Ed Morrison.

“It is the biggest call and I am absolutely gutted,” Lam said.

”There is a changing room there that deserved more.

“The ball comes back, it’s 83:27 minutes into the game. Cardiff knock the ball on, there is no ruck, our hooker picks the ball up, it is cleared, the ref is just about to blow and then Leighton Hodges, the touch judge, says it’s hands in the ruck.

“A, clearly no ruck. B, clearly he knocked the ball on, and the referee is one metre away to call that.”

It isn’t the first time that the former Samoan international has taken umbrage at Hodges’ officiating.

That is a massive call and it should be over and finished. I will go through the process now, but it was the wrong call and it cost us the game.

Pat Lam

Lam filed another complaint to Morrison after the Welshman took charge of Connacht’s 16-13 defeat to Edinburgh in Galway back in January – the Irish province’s first home defeat of the season.

The Connacht boss was left frustrated at Hodges’ performance at the Sportsground, particularly with he way he dished out penalties against the Irish side, while allowing Edinburgh to get away with deliberately slowing the ball down.

And he confirmed that he has had plenty of support from others in the game that it was the wrong call from Hodges, which cost them victory.

“I’ve had texts from quite influential people agreeing that the decision is wrong,” he added.

“That is a massive call and it should be over and finished. I will go through the process now, but it was the wrong call and it cost us the game.

“The bottom line is that is a massive call to make in a game. To make a call like that which is completely wrong is disappointing.

“I believe we have to be accountable. We’re talking livelihoods here so officials need to be accountable too. I have full faith Ed Morrison will follow this up.”

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