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Opinion: RFU statement relieves no anger over Quins yellow card controversy

Harlequins vs Bath was the ultimate Easter weekend viewing. Over 11 tries resulting in nearly 80 points being scored, the Premiership was once again laying its claim for being the most entertaining division in professional rugby.

Despite the entertainment on the pitch, the main talking point was the Irne Herbst sin-bin; or lack of…

The second-rower was sent to the sin-bin in the 63rd minute, however, television footage revealed his premature return to action around the 70 minute-mark, a full three minutes ahead of schedule.

The RFU have since released a statement saying they “acknowledge and apologise for an error”, later adding “we would like to apologise to both teams for this mistake.”

Bath will rightly feel aggrieved following the RFU’s admittance of the officials’ errors during the match. In such a tight game following a remarkable second half comeback, the West Country side would have had a significant advantage with the home team being one man down.

Officials are once again in the spotlight following last week’s TMO controversy. It does beg the question: ‘why are blatant errors appearing in the game?’ TMOs listening to broadcaster’s commentary and then failing on basic timekeeping.

Considering that the fourth official’s role in rugby union is so minimal compared to that of the referee, this error is hugely controversial and one that probably changed the course of the game.

The statement released relieves no anger surrounding the situation. An extensive review into both incidents over the last two matchdays should be executed to ensure that neither situation happens again.

With basic mistakes being present in a professional sport, it does not bode well for the supporters. In addition, with rugby union being on the decline in terms of popularity, new viewers may be put off by major errors in the sport.

The Premiership run-in continues to be one of the tightest ever and the presence of high profile errors could affect the backend of the league in a negative way. A crisis could be looming and a similar incident could ruin the end of this gripping run-in.