Fisher rues ‘ridiculous’ penalty try


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Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher has branded referee Steve Walsh’s decision to award the Stormers a penalty try in the Brumbies 20-10 loss in Cape Town as ridiculous.

Walsh ruled that Brumbies five-eighth Christian Lealiifano interfered with Stormers outside centre Gcobani Bobo while he supported a break by inside centre Jean de Villiers.

The try was converted by Peter Grant and he followed that up with two penalties which put the Stormers ahead 20-0 and left the Brumbies with 14 players for 10 minutes while Lealifano was in the sin bin.

Lealiifano did make contact with Bobo but it was minimal and even the South African commentators at the time said that the decision was harsh on the Brumbies.

Had Bobo received the pass untouched there was no guarantee that he would have been able to out sprint Lealiifano to the try line.

When awarding a penalty there must be no doubt at all that the try would have been scored and Fisher along with many other think that there was doubt.

“They (the Stormers) were very good early,” Fisher said in the Australian.

“They were hard on the ball and they slowed us down. We didn’t break them down.

“They scored a soft try from a line out and a ridiculous penalty try, which broke our backs.

“I don’t think too many people would have awarded a penalty try. It was a harsh decision.

“When you’ve got the whistle you can do whatever you like. That’s the way it goes.”

The loss to the Stormers has almost ended the Brumbies season as they are now pretty much out of contention for a play off play off place.

While it is still possible for them to get a play off place mathematically it is now highly unlikely.

But the Brumbies will approach their last two regular season games against the Bulls (Pretoria) and Western Force (Perth) as if they can still reach the top four.

The Brumbies remain in eighth place with 28 competition points, while the Stormers have moved up to fourth position (35). With a maximum of 10 points on offer from their last two games, the Brumbies could theoretically overtake the Stormers, if the South Africans drop their final two matches against the Waratahs (Cape Town) and Lions (Johannesburg).

But there are also three other teams – Chiefs (33), Sharks (32) and Blues (31) – sitting between the Stormers and the Brumbies.

“It makes it a fair bit harder. We’ve got two games to go and that’s all we can do, look forward to next week,” Fisher said.

“It’s hard to know how other results will go. We have the capacity to finish with 38 points. That’s our target. That’s what we have to aim for. Other results will look after themselves.”

The Brumbies chances will be well and truly over however if they lose to the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday and after beating the second placed Waratahs last saturday the Bulls spirits will be high.

“I watched the first half. In those (wet) conditions it was just bash and kick. You couldn’t take too much out of it.

“I think we’ll take more out of their win against the Highlanders (two weeks ago).”

The Brumbies on the other hand will be buoyed by their spirited comeback in the second half which saw tries from Adam Ashley-Cooper and Peter Kimlin and keeping the Stormers scoreless.

“We showed commitment,” Fisher said.

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