Unhappy Saumi questions referee's choice to allow uncontested scrums
Plymouth Albion head coach Nat Saumi was furious after last Saturday's 34-16 defeat at Leeds.
Saumi was angry that referee Matt Carley went to uncontested scrums after just 15 minutes of the RFU Championship match at Headingley without discussing the issue with either set of coaches.
The disgruntled Albion boss said he plans to study the rules and regulations – and he has not ruled out making an official complaint to the Rugby Football Union.
"We prepared for scrums," said Saumi afterwards. "We wanted to dominate the scrums – that was what our game was based on. The decision was made by the referee but I have not got to the bottom of it. They [the match officials] did not even come over and notify the coaches. I did not even know at the time.
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"It took the sting out of our team. That was what we had been working on and it was taken away from us.
"It was a big let-down for the players. Going to uncontested scrums is going to rugby league, where it just comes down to skills. That's how the game went."
Asked whether appealing to the RFU was an option, Saumi said: "I will have to look at the regulations and see what I can do. It would have been better to call off the game and play it again, but that was the decision by the referee.
"The boys are really down because we were doing well and we knew that preparation-wise we had the upper hand.
"Scrummaging is part of the game. We know we have been struggling with line-outs, but we had been working on our scrums because they win games. But, like I said, that was taken away from us, and it did have a major impact for the boys.
"We wanted to work them out and tire them out in the scrum to give us freedom around the pitch. When it goes to uncontested [scrums], there is no burning legs, people are running around free and it is so easy."
Saumi felt his players were affected by the decision. Within 18 minutes of the referee's call, Albion had conceded three tries – one after losing a line-out and another after getting turned over.
"Going to uncontested scrums got into the minds of the players," admitted Saumi. "But there is no excuse. As professional players, you have to get on with it and play.
"It came down to line-outs again and a turnover and they have two tries and that kills the game off."
Albion dominated the second half but could not turn possession into points unlike Leeds. "Second half we had loads of chances, but we could not come up with points," a disappointed Saumi added. "Eight times we had scrums on their line and had options but could not score a try, but they have one at the other end and score."
Leeds head coach Diccon Edwards has spoken of his disappointment that the match ended up with uncontested scrums. "We're disappointed by what happened and it could have easily been avoided," he told the Yorkshire Post.
"In the Championship, you get developing players and developing referees."
Edwards felt Albion contributed to the problem of the scrums in the first 15 minutes, which were constantly having to be reset. He added: "We've real confidence in our scrum and certainly, in the first 15 minutes, we felt what their loosehead was doing led to the problems."