Bath plea for Toulouse replay rejected


London - Bath's controversial plea to have their European Champions Cup tie against Toulouse replayed has been rejected, officials announced Tuesday.

The English club lost 22-20 at home to French giants Toulouse on October 13 but Bath complained referee Andrew Brace had blown the full-time whistle shortly before the full 80 minutes had elapsed, according to the clock being displayed on television screens, and so denied them an attacking line-out which might have led to a match-clinching score.

However, European Professional Club Rugby said Tuesday the official stadium clock was showing 80 minutes completed when the match ended.

"It has been reported in the media that the match referee, Andrew Brace, blew the full-time whistle three seconds before the 80 minutes had elapsed, however, this is incorrect," said an EPCR statement.

"Although the television match graphics indicated that 79 minutes and 57 seconds had elapsed when the match ended, the official stadium clock which was visible to players, club management and to spectators, clearly displayed that 80 minutes had elapsed.

"Once Andrew Brace received confirmation in his earpiece from the official timekeeper that time was up, he blew the final whistle."

However, the statement added: "EPCR accepts that the disparity in this instance between the official time and the time shown on the television match graphics caused some confusion, and ways to avoid any similar situation in the future will be carefully considered by the tournament organiser."

Bath's hopes of a replay were then dashed in a short sentence that said: "The result of the Pool 1 match stands."

Bath also felt Toulouse should have been down to 13 men come the finish, with two of the French club's players Jerome Kaino and Lucas Pointud subsequently cited and suspended for what would have been red-card offences had they been dealt with on the field of play at the Recreation Ground.

Bath owner Bruce Craig accused Brace, a Welsh referee who has come through the Irish system, of "gross negligence".

But Bath would have won the game had not Freddie Burns both missed a penalty from in front of the posts and then, in the closing minutes, squandered a seemingly-certain try when, as he celebrated before touching down, the ball was knocked from his grasp by Maxime Medard.

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