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Bosses critical of chaotic derby

Rival bosses Nigel Davies and Mike Ford pulled no punches in their assessment of a spiteful Aviva Premiership west country derby between Gloucester and Bath that descended into chaos at Kingsholm.

Gloucester ended the game with 11 players after prop Sila Puafisi and scrum-half Tavis Knoyle were sent off following separate incidents of foul play and centre Mike Tindall and hooker Huia Edmonds had been sin-binned.

Bath also had three players yellow-carded before claiming an 18-17 victory thanks to a converted 79th-minute penalty try, while a second-half decision by match referee Tim Wigglesworth to go to uncontested scrums also sparked controversy.

And Wigglesworth appeared to have a plastic drinks bottle thrown in his direction as he walked down the players's tunnel after being escorted off the pitch following a combustible contest.

A Rugby Football Union spokesperson said on Saturday the match would be "subject to a full review by the RFU, as per normal procedure".

Asked if he thought there should be an enquiry into events of the game, Bath head coach Ford said: "I think so.

"We've had four yellow cards all year and we got three in one game. Derby games are very passionate and players get on the edge.

"We pride ourselves on these challenges that occur during a game. We try and pride ourselves on figuring a way to win and understanding what is going on.

"The referees have got to understand what is going on out there. It's crucial, absolutely crucial. Why he never used the TMO (television match official), I don't know.

"I am not here to call the referee at all, honestly. I just want to be positive on what we have done."

And Ford did not hold back on criticising Wales international Knoyle, who was dismissed after he threw punches at Bath number eight Leroy Houston during the dying minutes.

Puafisi had been red-carded 25 minutes earlier for a dangerous high tackle on Bath full-back Nick Abendanon.

"What happened at the end with Tavis Knoyle, there is no place for that," Ford added.

"He just assaulted one of our players. We've got to defend ourselves. You can lose control, can't you?

"There were a lot of controversies during the game. We had to deal with it and the players and the decision-making on the field was fantastic.

"We are really pleased to come through a very hostile, ferocious Kingsholm and keep in the top four of the Premiership."

Bath were also furious that the game went to uncontested scrums, with Wigglesworth making that decision because Gloucester said one of their replacement props - former London Irish player Dan Murphy - could not play in the tighthead position.

Two of Bath's current coaching staff - Toby Booth and Neal Hatley - worked with Murphy when they were at Irish.

"We've got two coaches on our coaching staff who've coached him," Ford said. "It took a massive part of our game away. It's just not right.

"Health and safety comes first. I am not too sure the last time he played tighthead or not, but uncontested scrums are no good for the game."

Gloucester director of rugby Davies rejected suggestions surrounding Murphy, stating: "He has not played tighthead for us. The game has moved on. He has been with us for three years. He is not trained to play tighthead.

"It would be absolute madness and dangerous, and they (Bath) should know that. It is a very technical position, tighthead, the most difficult position, probably, on the rugby field to play.

"You can't throw somebody into that environment. It would be completely unacceptable and dangerous."

Asked about the alleged bottle incident, Davies added: "I didn't see anything, to be honest.

"I think right from the start of the game the lack of consistency shown really frustrated a lot of players from both sides.

"When it is not managed and there is no consistency, you are going to get frustration.

"The players work very hard to put stuff together and be the best that they can be, and when there is a lack of consistency it is very difficult."

Bath forwards Carl Fearns, Matt Garvey and Dave Attwood were all yellow-carded, meaning Bath played 30 minutes of the game a man down.

But the visitors prevailed through a penalty try - converted by fly-half George Ford - after Gloucester collapsed a maul. It was Bath's first league win at Kingsholm since 2006.

Centre Harry Trinder's 71st-minute try looked to have edged Gloucester home - fly-half Billy Twelvetrees chipped in with four penalties - while Bath captain Stuart Hooper scored a try and George Ford kicked two penalties before an unsavoury finale.


From Belfast Telegraph