First-half incident leaves Myler confused
Stephen Myler says there was ‘confusion’ and a ‘fault with interpretation’ over the first-half incident which indirectly led to the dismissal of captain Dylan Hartley in Saints’ 37-17 defeat in the Aviva Premiership Grand Final at Twickenham.
Time was up at the end of the first period and Saints were trailing 13-5 when Myler re-started play by kicking the ball into touch from inside his own 22.
Three times referee Wayne Barnes was heard to warn Myler not to kick the ball out, with Myler also asking the referee if time was up.
At this point, Barnes told him time was up but again warned Myler not to kick the ball out.
So when the Saints fly-half dinked a grubber-kick into touch, the referee immediately signalled for a Leicester scrum in front of the posts on the 22-metre line.
Tigers were then awarded a penalty, and it was then that Barnes sent-off Saints skipper Hartley for allegedly calling him a ‘cheat’.
Hartley has since claimed that he was talking to Leicester’s Tom Youngs, not the referee, but the fact remains none of that would have happened if Myler had restarted the game to Barnes’ liking.
And Myler was still a little confused by what he had done wrong after the game.
“I certainly wouldn’t go and ask him (Barnes) what I was allowed to do, and then do something completely opposite,” said the Saints no.10.
“And he’s not going to tell me I can do something when I can’t.
“So there has been some kind of confusion somewhere along the line.
“I was aware the ball couldn’t go out on the full.
“I knew it was time, but I just wanted to know when the half would finish.
“And it was a case of that I knew I couldn’t just turn and kick it out, I knew the ball had to cross the line.
“I didn’t want to blast the ball into the stand and intentionally hoof the ball off the field which I am not allowed to do.
“So there is some kind of fault with the interpretation, whether it’s me, the team or what, I don’t know.
“But it is history now I guess.”
Saints were reduced to 14 men for the entire second half, but scored two tries in that time in a spirited display.
They eventually went down 37-17 with Tigers scoring two late tries, but Myler was refusing to blame the referee for the sending off or the defeat.
“We can’t change what happened, the decision was made and it is beyond our control,” said Myler.
“He is the referee and we are not going to go an argue with him, it’s not for us to get in his face and ask ‘why?’
“He has got his reasons, he is the referee, we have to respect him and what we have to do is react to what is given, as we do in any situation.
“It was frustrating to lose our captain, but we had to deal with it, simple as that, whether we think it is right or wrong.”