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Aviva Premiership final: Saracens fuming over TMO decision
Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths has called for a root and branch review of the Television Match Official "shambles" after Owen Farrell's controversial disallowed try in the Aviva Premiership final.
Northampton claimed their first Premiership title thanks to Alex Waller's dramatic last-gasp try in extra time, the Saints edging home 24-20.
It might have been a different story, though, had Farrell seen his try just past the hour mark stand.
Referee JP Doyle initially awarded the score before reversing the decision after the apparent interjection of TMO Graham Hughes.
Doyle was heard to ask Alex Goode "are you taking the conversion?" after awarding the try, before then referring the decision on the try.
"Most teams in the Premiership would say the protocol has become a shambles, it's almost make it up as you go along," said Griffiths.
"Some referees use the TMO as a kind of video operator, 'show me that again please', others take instruction, others take guidance.
"This sounds like sour grapes but it isn't, because this would be the case had that final try not been given. The TMO process is a shambles.
"It's something Premiership Rugby will have to look at, but the protocol needs to be clarified exactly what is meant to happen.
"The role of the TMO needs to be clarified: it's almost different with different referees and TMOs in different games.
"If you bring something into the game it's got to be decisive.
"I'm not going to say it cost us the title, but the protocol, for the good of the game, needs to be clarified.
"In the old days the referee would have looked at what happened and made an educated decision.
"Would that have been any better or worse than what happened?
"The TMO has got something to add in the sport, but how and when it's used has got to be clarified.
"It's not clear what the TMO says, who says it, when the referee's allowed to ask, when the TMO's allowed to ask, it just looks like a general hotch-potch."
Northampton rugby director Jim Mallinder shrugged off the impact of the TMO rulings.
Ifs and buts
"I think in a close game like that you can always pick on one or two ifs and buts decisions, and we could look on one or two things where we didn't get the bounce of the ball either," he said.
"Alex Waller's score at the end was a clear try as soon as the ball went down - never in doubt!"
Captain Tom Wood admitted Northampton were proud to help Dylan Hartley complete his redemption after being sent off in last year's Premiership final.
Hartley's red card helped Leicester claim a 31-17 victory last term, and dumped him out of the summer's British and Irish Lions tour.
Hartley returned from two months out with shoulder trouble to join the fray from the bench on Saturday, and strike last year's day to forget from his mind completely.
"This time last year we were so disappointed, and nobody took it harder than Dylan," said Wood on Hartley, who is now fit to fly out to New Zealand with England on Monday.
"He's been the life and soul of our group and does a lot of work behind the scenes.
"It's cruel on Ross McMillan who has done a great job in his absence, but when you've got quality like Dylan in the squad it does influence everybody. It's good to have him around the team and his leadership coming off the bench, it certainly helped myself out.
"I'm pleased for Dylan he's managed to experience that after last year, and get that off his back a little bit."
Saracens rugby director Mark McCall confirmed injury worries to Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola are not thought to jeopardise their England tour to New Zealand.
Farrell suffered cramp with number eight Vunipola picking up an ankle knock, but McCall expects both to join up with England on Monday.
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|Sunday 21st December|
|14:00||Wasps vs London Irish|
|Friday 26th December|
|15:00||London Irish vs London Welsh|
|Saturday 27th December|
|14:00||Bath vs Exeter|
|14:00||Sale vs Leicester|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Saracens|
|16:30||Harlequins vs Northampton|
|Sunday 28th December|
|14:30||Gloucester vs Wasps|
|Friday 2nd January|
|19:45||Northampton vs Newcastle Falcons|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|14:00||Saracens vs London Irish|
|16:30||Exeter vs Gloucester|
|Sunday 4th January|
|14:00||Wasps vs Sale|
|14:00||Leicester Tigers vs Bath|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Harlequins|
|Friday 9th January|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Saracens|
|Saturday 10th January|
|14:00||Sale vs Northampton|
|15:00||Bath vs Wasps|
|15:15||Harlequins vs Leicester Tigers|
|Sunday 11th January|
|14:00||Newcastle Falcons vs London Welsh|
|15:00||London Irish vs Exeter|
|Saturday 14th February|
|15:00||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|15:00||Northampton vs London Irish|
|15:00||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 15th February|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|15:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Gloucester 16 - 39 Bath|
|Northampton 23 - 19 Leicester Tigers|
|Saracens 78 - 7 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 15 - 7 Newcastle Falcons|
|Friday 19th December|
|Sale Sharks 18 - 11 Exeter|
|Sunday 30th November|
|Newcastle Falcons 13 - 18 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 14 - 43 Northampton|
|London Irish 9 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 29th November|
|Exeter 27 - 19 Saracens|
|Leicester Tigers 18 - 16 Wasps|
|Friday 28th November|
|Bath 25 - 6 Harlequins|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester Tigers|
|Saracens 24 - 31 Northampton|
|Saturday 22nd November|
|London Irish 23 - 33 Bath|
|Exeter 31 - 15 Wasps|
|Friday 21st November|
|Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 Gloucester|
|Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Sunday 16th November|
|Wasps 71 - 7 London Welsh|
|Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 Saracens|
|Saturday 15th November|
|Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle Falcons|
|Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London Irish|
|Friday 14th November|
|Gloucester 15 - 22 Harlequins|
|Northampton 18 - 24 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com