Harlequins 14 Bath 6: McGeechan fumes as Fa'asavalu escapes red
21:02 GMT, 24 March 2012
Bath director of rugby Sir Ian McGeechan was furious after Harlequins flanker Maurie Fa’asavalu escaped a red card for a high tackle on fly-half Tom Heathcote with two minutes left of this ugly contest.
Heathcote, 20, required several minutes of treatment after being floored by the former St Helens rugby league star, who received only a yellow card from referee Wayne Barnes.
The Bath youngster was eventually helped from the field nursing a damaged shoulder but Barnes, who had earlier sent Quins’ Joe Marler and Bath’s Jack Cuthbert to the sinbin for dangerous tackles, declined to send off the Samoan.
Centre of attention: Fa'asavalu celebrates his last-gasp try
McGeechan shouted: ‘That’s a red,’ at
the time and afterwards he said: ‘I’d like the citing officer to look at
it. He can decide if it should have been a red card. Tom’s a young lad
and we’ve got to look after these boys.’
His Quins counterpart, Conor O’Shea, defended Fa’asavalu, saying: ‘The
referee saw what happened and deemed it a yellow card. Mo is hard, he is
physical and he rarely gets a tackle wrong.
‘It was a massively dominant hit and people who know Mo know that he’s
not a loose cannon going around the pitch. He’s an incredibly physical
The incident detracted from an intense, if uninspiring game which had
earlier seen Fa’asavalu cross for the decisive score four minutes before
launching the assault on Heathcote.
Summit: Harlequins regained top spot of the Aviva Premiership
Up in the air: Monye takes the ball
The victory moves Harlequins three points clear of Saracens, who they face next Saturday at Wembley.
Scrum-half Danny Care, on police bail following allegations of a sexual
assault at a Leeds nightspot, played 60 minutes before being replaced by
Bath had numerous chances to force their way into Heineken Cup
contention for next season but Quins full-back Mike Brown’s stunning
first-half tackle on Bath No 8 Simon Taylor saved the Londoners before
winger Ollie Woodburn fumbled the ball with the line at his mercy on 54
Nick Evans missed two simple kicks at goal before landing two penalties, as did Heathcote.
O’Shea opted to give England captain Chris Robshaw a week’s holiday in
Abu Dhabi, courtesy of the club’s sponsor, rather than throw him
straight back into Premiership action a week after the culmination of
the Six Nations.
‘Chris has been hit with a great deal of intensity from a media perspective and from leading the team,’ he said.
‘He would have played outstandingly today but at some stage he’d have fallen off the edge of a cliff.’