Jonathan Humphreys pulled no punches as he spoke about the Ospreys defeat to Munster at the post-match press conference.
Talking to a packed media room at Thomond Park, Humphreys highlighted the front row area, and the refereeing of it, as a key factor in the outcome of the game.
“We’re disappointed that we didn’t get the win. We felt after Tommy’s try that if we could get back down there, got a bit of possession and gone that big score clear that it would have been different. But yes, we’re disappointed. Our intention was to come here and win and we didn’t do that.
“We felt that we didn’t look to get out of our own half as quickly as we could have. We knew that Munster are very creative at the tackle contest also and there’s a few things that we can work on there this week to make sure we can play that a little bit more than we did.
“I have to raise the question about why Paul James got a yellow card. That is such a crucial area, I felt that we were the dominant scrum out there. I have a big thing that referees need to referee tightheads. They have to. It’s very simple how to referee a tight head, if he doesn’t stay square then it’s a penalty against him. That’s what it is.
“Now we’ve gone into this game knowing that Munster have two tightheads that do not scrummage square. We started the game refereeing that, and then out of the blue Paul James gets yellow carded. I’d like to know what the thinking or reasoning behind that was. It’s very difficult to get the tight head to scrummage square. It takes a lot of technical training and it takes a bit of experience to do that. Everybody has to push square, that’s what the law says. If somebody is not pushing square then that is an infringement. Please, referee that infringement. I actively ask for that, and am happy to be refereed that way, but I expect the opposition to be refereed the same way.
“”It’s a big factor in the game and the outcome, but I think we were the creators of our downfall in terms of what we did out there. I thought we defended pretty well, it was just a couple of loose decisions that allowed them to go up our end and score.
“Paul O’Connell is not a dirty player by any stretch of the imagination. A very similar thing happened to Gavin Henson against Leicester, and unfortunately he got ten weeks for an offence like that. Everybody in the rugby world knows Paul, we’ve played against him a lot and have a lot of admiration for him as a player. He’s an iconic figure, so it’s disappointing for him and Munster that he potentially could miss a large chunk of the season now.
“Jonathan was a little unsure of himself, we were possibly thinking of making that change around that point anyway, but he couldn’t carry on, he was unfit to carry on.
“The group is pretty even now. I thought it was a good opportunity for one of us to get a distinct advantage but right now it’s pretty even Stevens. Their bonus point was obviously a concern when Ronan had a penalty near halfway, and their intention to really try and kill us in the group, but we defended pretty well to deny them that. They could have got the maximum and left us with nothing, and it would have been difficult to come back from there.
“We came here looking for the win, that was our aspiration, now we are going back to the Liberty next week where we will have the biggest crowd in a long while. It is important now that our supporters are up for it, they turn up in black and support their team as passionately and noisily as the Munster fans were here today.”