Aviva Premiership: Jim Mallinder upset after Northampton defeat to Gloucester
Northampton boss Jim Mallinder thought two late refereeing decisions cost his side in their dramatic loss at Gloucester.
Last Updated: 21/09/13 8:47pm
Gloucester's England centre Billy Twelvetrees booted a penalty with the game's final kick to thwart Saints 26-24 at Kingsholm.
But that was only half the story, as referee Martin Fox had a big impact after Saints had taken a one-point lead with a minute left - firstly failing to spot four Gloucester players were offside from the restart.
Fox then penalised Saints at an ensuing reset scrum when it looked as though Northampton should have had a penalty for home number eight Ben Morgan illegally kicking possession back into a scrum, leaving Mallinder fuming.
"It is a shame when games are decided by the referee in the last couple of minutes," Mallinder said.
"We were disappointed when we had the change of referee at short notice, but sometimes that happens. What we have got to make sure of is that we control what we can control. The refs are out of our hands.
"We've got to make sure that parts of our game we are more accurate with. You have got to try to put the referee out of the equation.
"My reading of the scrum at the end, particularly the second scrum, was that we had control of the ball, so the reset should have been our put-in. I don't want to say any more, really.
"I have taken my frustration out - I kicked whatever was at the side of the pitch. We came close, we will win some and we will lose some. Clearly, the penalty count didn't go in our favour."
Unsurprisingly, Gloucester rugby director Nigel Davies had a different view of events after his team claimed their first Premiership win this season following losses to Sale and Saracens.
"Sometimes you get the rub of the green, sometimes you don't," he said. "More importantly, from my perspective, I felt that overall we deserved to win with the performance we put in.
"What is important is that we got the win. It was a very exciting game with a very dramatic ending to a fabulous match. Sport is about momentum, and we didn't really have any before today.
"We were hugely disappointed with our performance against Sale, and against Saracens it was very difficult to judge us because we were playing with 14 men, but today was a huge stride forward.
"Billy will know he had a mixed bag today, but ultimately he came through strong. He had the confidence in himself to nail an absolutely crucial kick for us to get our season under way."