Leinster have beaten Munster in an enthralling Pro 14 clash at the Aviva Stadium, coming out on top in a 30-22 scoreline.
The game featured some incredible rugby from both sides, but one of the main talking points that has emerged in the aftermath is the quality of the refereeing. Many fans felt that Ben Whitehouse was consistently harsh in penalising Munster, while being more than willing to turn a blind eye to a number of Leinster infractions.
The questionable decisions began in the 9th minute, when Leinster were awarded a penalty try after Keith Earls was adjudged to have tackled James Lowe without the ball, preventing a clear try in the process. Earls was also sent to the sin bin for the incident.
— eir Sport (@eirSport) October 6, 2018
Many felt it was an incredibly harsh decision.
Leinster supporter , must say ref very harsh on Munster penalty Try and yellow card for Earls .
— Philip Daly (@PhilipDaly_Irl) October 6, 2018
Some very very dodgy call here; yellow card + penalty try, that CJ seal and now that maul.
Iffy to say the least, shame it’s impacting the game and converting into points for Leinster. #LEIvMUN
— Meadhbh Lewis (@LewisMeadhbh) October 6, 2018
There was also controversy about a deliberate knock-on call against Munster, disallowing a Keith Earls breakaway try when the ball appeared to come off Sam Arnold's head.
The same passage of play would eventually end in a try for Leinster. While James Lowe did incredibly well to get the ball down in the corner, the try would not have been possible without the knock-on infringement. The decision caused a 14 point swing in the game.
— Conor Horgan (@horgan88) October 6, 2018
Man, this is disgraceful and demoralising if you’re a Munster player.
Try all stemmed from an awful deliberate knock-on call.
Whitehouse has a lot to answer for.#LEIvMUN
— Meadhbh Lewis (@LewisMeadhbh) October 6, 2018
That touch judge and ref should be demoted..penalty try?deliberate knock on?2 gifted tries to Leinster. Munster should be up all being fair #LEIvMUN
— PUD (@popupdummy) October 6, 2018
Big fuck up by referee against Munster there. Massive turning point in the game. Deliberate knock on my arse. #LEIvMUN
— Johnny Tierney (@Johnnyboy_1977) October 6, 2018
Whitehouse also seemed hesitant to penalise Leinster in the same fashion. During a passage of play where the home side gave away three consecutive penalties on their own goal line, he refused to award Munster a penalty try. While they would cross the line eventually, many wondered why there was no consequences for Leinster's persistent fouling.
Great Munster try in the 4th penalty against Leicester #LEIvMUN why was ref roaring for Munster to use it! He didn’t want to give a penalty try against Leinster
— John McDonnell (@JohnMcD007) October 6, 2018
Ben Shithouse is not a good referee, he blatantly shit the togs by shouting at Munster to use the ball out of the scrum. He really didn’t want to give that penalty try and bin a Leinster man. Too up his own hole and didn’t want to be booed by the home support #LEIvMUN
— mikeyblighe (@howyanowhey) October 6, 2018
Leinster would eventually run out eight point winners, but one can't help but feel that refereeing decision played a major part in the outcome of this game. Not only was it Munster fans criticising the official's performance, but indeed many Leinster supporters felt he was being harsh on their rivals.
The referee in @leinsterrugby v @Munsterrugby is laughable! how is this guy allowed to ref a game at this level. if munster loose, then it won’t be because they are beaten by a better team, they are beaten by a ref who is unable to to make right decisions.
— Mikey Hoye (@Mikey_Hoye) October 6, 2018
3 scrum pens with no sanction. Earls scored a brilliant try but Whitehouse decided tackling a player constitutes deliberate knock on, that was a 14 point turnaround. The league MUST get a grip on the standard of refs they are employing.
— Kevin Kelly (@KevinKelly21) October 6, 2018
Consistently shite ref is against Munster and I’m a Dub #LEIvMUN
— John Palbears 🔴🌑 (@Palbears) October 6, 2018
I mean I get it. It's the worst form of whinging to blame the ref.. but some of his decisions today have been so poor and so costly for Munster. #LEIvMUN
— Fergal Kearney 🇮🇪 🇨🇦 (@woggas) October 6, 2018
— Francis Kelly (@franciskelly999) October 6, 2018
What has this ref got Leinster backed at??? He’s a disgrace. #LEIvMUN
— Eoin O Sullivan (@EoinEOSullivan) October 6, 2018
These decisions have placed a cloud over what was ultimately a fantastic game of rugby between two excellent sides. Munster will certainly feel hard done by, but now must prepare themselves for a trip to take on the Exeter Chiefs in the Champions Cup next week.