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Brian Smith says red card for Chris Hala'ufia the key moment in London Irish defeat
London Irish coach Brian Smith said the sending off of his No 8 Chris Hala'ufia was the turning point of his team's 15-9 Aviva Premiership defeat at London Welsh.
The basement battle at the Kassam Stadium was ruined as a contest by the 10th-minute sending-off of Hala'ufia for a dangerous tip tackle.
Smith said: "I thought it was a perfectly executed tackle. The referee made a big call as he was not 100 per cent sure of the decision as he had to check with his touch judge.
"I would like to see the rugby league system brought in where a tackle like that goes on report and is assessed afterwards."
Lyn Jones, his Welsh counterpart, said: "There was no malice in the tackle but the referee's hands are tied. It was very similar to the Sam Warburton incident in the World Cup when the Welsh captain was sent off."
Despite the loss of Hala'ufia and a subsequent yellow card for Matt Garvey, the Irish battled to the end and nearly pulled off an unlikely win.
"It was an unbelievably gutsy effort and could have been a gutsy victory,"Smith added. "We are not happy but we have salvaged a bonus point.
"I'm not going to blame the referee for our loss as we weren't precise enough and we lost 15 points with missed kicks."
The match was a poor spectacle with neither side having the creativity to break down the opposition's defence and it was left to Gordon Ross to secure victory for his side with five penalty goals.
"All wins are good wins but our ill-discipline cost us dearly," Jones said. "We were good value for the win and they scrapped hard for their bonus point.
"Our defensive structure was very good and we are targeting six wins for survival, so with four wins so far we are well on target."Aviva Premiership. Click here to bet.
|Saturday 16th May|
|Exeter 44 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Leicester Tigers 22 - 14 Northampton|
|Newcastle Falcons 37 - 21 Harlequins|
|Bath 50 - 30 Gloucester|
|London Welsh 17 - 68 Saracens|
|London Irish 40 - 40 Wasps|
|Sunday 10th May|
|Saracens 20 - 24 Exeter|
|Saturday 9th May|
|Northampton 46 - 0 London Welsh|
|Wasps 21 - 26 Leicester Tigers|
|Gloucester 35 - 13 London Irish|
|Sale Sharks 34 - 28 Newcastle Falcons|
|Friday 8th May|
|Harlequins 26 - 27 Bath|
|Sunday 26th April|
|Wasps 36 - 29 Exeter|
|Saturday 25th April|
|Northampton 25 - 20 Saracens|
|Gloucester 42 - 40 Newcastle Falcons|
|Leicester Tigers 38 - 17 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 23 - 25 Harlequins|
|Friday 24th April|
|Bath 43 - 18 London Irish|
|Sunday 12th April|
|London Irish 25 - 23 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 13 - 40 Wasps|
|Exeter 21 - 10 Northampton|
|Saturday 11th April|
|Saracens 22 - 6 Leicester Tigers|
|Harlequins 29 - 26 Gloucester|
|Friday 10th April|
|Newcastle Falcons 19 - 29 Bath|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com