The Press

Brown sees red over yellow card being dealt out

- ROBERT VAN ROYEN

‘‘If they are giving yellow cards like that, it makes it tough to play the game, especially when you ask your players to be physical.’’ Highlander­s coach Tony Brown

Departing Highlander­s coach Tony Brown has fired a parting shot at Super Rugby officials in the wake of his team’s quarterfin­al loss to the Crusaders on Saturday night.

Brown was filthy with the yellow card referee Angus Gardner dished out to loose forward Liam Squire early in the 17-0 loss, when he clobbered Crusaders first-five eighth Richie Mo’unga after he launched a cross-field kick.

‘‘Pretty weak,’’ was Brown’s response when asked about the decision post match. ‘‘Definitely not a yellow card.’’

‘‘If they are giving yellow cards like that, it makes it tough to play the game, especially when you ask your players to be physical. He didn’t hit him high, he didn’t hurt him.’’ It was the second time this season Brown has openly disagreed with a yellow card after a game against the Crusaders.

In round two, he was dumbfounde­d by Paul Williams’ decision to bin Malakai Fekitoa in Dunedin after he collided with fullback David Havili, who was contesting a high ball. After the Crusaders rattled off 12 points to pip the Highlander­s 30-27, Brown called the yellow card a ‘‘massive’ moment and said it should have been play on.

Squire’s stint in the sin bin didn’t have the same kind of impact. The Crusaders already had a penalty out in front and didn’t score again with a numerical advantage.

But that didn’t stop a puzzled Brown from questionin­g what he believes was one of a number of harsh decisions during this year’s competitio­n.

‘‘I don’t know what’s happening there but they are getting a lot of calls wrong in that area,’’ he said.

Gardner flashed the yellow card less than 24 hours after Glen Jackson enraged some Hurricanes fans by carding prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen against the Brumbies.

Toomaga-Allen hammered Brumbies pivot Wharenui Hawera in the first half of the Hurricanes’ 35-16 win in Canberra on Friday night, but sat out 10 minutes of action after making contact with Hawera’s head – an area officials have been instructed to crack down on all season.

Squire’s hit on Mo’unga wasn’t picked up by Gardner, but TMO Glenn Newman ensured the Aussie whistleblo­wer had a look.

Replays appeared to show Squire’s swinging right-arm made contact with Mo’unga’s leftshould­er, before sliding up and making contact with the back of his head. ‘‘If that’s a yellow card it’s going to be tough to play the game,’’ Brown maintained. ‘‘He didn’t hit him in the head, he hit him in the shoulder.’’

 ?? PHOTO: PHOTOSPORT ?? Australian referee Angus Gardner shows the yellow card to send Highlander­s forward Liam Squire to the sin bin.
PHOTO: PHOTOSPORT Australian referee Angus Gardner shows the yellow card to send Highlander­s forward Liam Squire to the sin bin.

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