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Alan Quinlan Suggests Warburton's Contrasting Attitude To Kieran Read Influenced Poite

Alan Quinlan Suggests Warburton's Contrasting Attitude To Kieran Read Influenced Poite
By Mikey Traynor

In the days since the final test match between the British & Irish Lions and New Zealand, referee Roman Poite has come under scrutiny for his decision to change his mind on a decision that played had a massive impact on the result of the series.

It was clear that Lions captain Sam Warburton convinced Poite to have another look and influenced his decision to negate the penalty he had awarded to the All Blacks and award a scrum to the Lions, and this is something most rugby fans have acknowledged was very fortunate for Warren Gatland's men.

In his column for Independent.ie, Alan Quinlan has suggested that what may have played a big factor in Poite's decision was the contrasting attitude between Warburton and All Blacks captain Kieran Read throughout the game, something he noticed by listening to the 'ref-link' in the stadium.

It's certainly not black and white, but the Lions were very lucky to get away with it. Poite made the decision to give the penalty, which was the correct one but the Lions players put him under pressure to look at Kieran Read's challenge in the air.

Sam Warburton asked Poite to check for accidental offside - it was an excellent piece of captaining.

I had the 'ref link' and it was amazing to listen to the difference in the rival captains' approach over the game. Read was constantly in Poite's face questioning decisions and asking him to double-check stuff. Warburton didn't do that at all but it was arguably more effective because the crucial decision went in his side's favour at the death.

It's essentially the 'boy who cried wolf' effect. As Read was constantly on Poite's back to reconsider his decisions, Warburton's more subtle approach could have lead to the ref thinking that something must be up if he was complaining.

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It's an interesting observation from Quinlan, and one we hadn't heard despite transcripts of what Warburton said to Poite emerging, and the acknowledgement that his actions essentially saved the tour for the Lions.

We've no way of knowing for sure unless Poite opens up on the incident at some stage in the future, but there is certainly something in what the former Munster man has suggested there.

You can read Quinlan's piece in full over on Independent.ie.

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