Assistant coach Alan Dickens has hit out at the officiating in Saints’ defeat to Newcastle Falcons last Friday.
Dickens says it is ‘beyond belief’ that Falcons lock Calum Green’s reaction to an incident involving Kieran Brookes was not reviewed by the television match official.
Brookes was red carded for charging into the ruck and making contact with the face of Newcastle hooker Scott Lawson.
The TMO and referee Andrew Jackson replayed that clash and decided that a red card was the right course of punishment.
Brookes was banned for two weeks at the hearing on Tuesday night, when Green also got a one-week ban, having been cited for striking Brookes with his forearm.
But Dickens is dismayed that no action was taken on the night, with 14-man Saints going on to lose the Aviva Premiership match 22-16.
“Kieran Brookes got the red and the directives are that if you make contact with the head, you get the red card,” Dickens said.
“I’ve been involved in the game of rugby since the age of six, and the greater crime has always been the retaliation.
“I saw it at the time and looked at it that Calum Green came in with an elbow to Kieran Brookes’ chin.
“You’ve got to then question the values of the game.
“It’s obvious and it was there for us to see, but they didn’t look at it.
“When it goes to the TMO, someone is sitting in a room, wherever it is, they are detached from the emotion of the game and they can make a decision.
“For them to miss that was a joke.”
Saints were involved in a similar incident in their game at Saracens back in October.
On that occasion, Chris Ashton recieved no punishment during the match, but was later cited for biting Alex Waller during the first half.
Ashton was eventually hit with a 13-week ban, but it didn’t help Saints who had lost the game 27-12.
And the build-up of incidents has added to Dickens’ anger.
“It (last Friday’s incident involved Green) was costly for us and it’s a pivotal moment in the game.
“I want to be positive in terms of how the lads responded, but you’ve got three officials and one in the TMO box, and they still can’t come to the correct decision.
“We haven’t prospered from the right decision.
“The decision with Kieran Brookes, if that’s a directive, he got what’s expected, but for them not to look at anything else in and around that incident was beyond belief.”