Ospreys seek clarification over Ryan Bevington scrum issue
THE Ospreys have contacted European Rugby Cup’s head of referees Donal Courtney over the “disappointing” issues that led to Ryan Bevington incurring the wrath of French official Romain Poite in the clash with Leicester.
Bevington was called into the Wales squad this week after an outstanding burst of early-season form.
But in the Heineken Cup encounter at Welford Road last weekend he was penalised four times and yellow carded as Poite repeatedly found fault with his scrummaging.
The Ospreys and Wales were not convinced by all the decisions, with the region opting to haul the youngster off after Poite had told Alun Wyn Jones if Bevington offended again he could be red-carded.
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The Pro12 champions have now dispatched footage of the scrummaging battle to Courtney, performance manager of ERC’s match officials, to ask him for an opinion.
“It was really disappointing,” said forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys.
“I’ve sent some clips to Don Courtney just to get some clarification on what the issues were.
“Firstly, Ryan Bevington was playing extremely well, so it was really disappointing that we had to pull him off as I felt he was going to get red-carded.
“We saw a penalty swing of five-four at scrum-time, Leicester getting five and the Ospreys getting four, yet Ryan was singled out and yellow carded.
“I need clarification on why that was the case.
“I couldn’t see why he was penalised. I had to take him off to protect him, which was disappointing because he was playing well.”
Wales were similarly mystified by Poite’s decision to send one of Welsh rugby’s brightest front-row hopes to the bin as he duelled with Dan Cole. “I thought Ryan had a really unlucky call in the scrum where he was yellow-carded,” said national forwards coach Robin McBryde.
“On TV it looked as if Dan Cole’s feet seemed to give way and that’s why the scrum went down.”
The toughest afternoon of Bevington’s career unfolded in front of a live TV audience and a crowd of 24,000. At 23, he could be forgiven for feeling traumatised by the whole experience, but the Ospreys are confident he will recover.
“Traumatic? Yes, I suppose it would be for the kid,” said Humphreys, whose side face Connacht at the Liberty on Saturday afternoon.
“He’s still a young player. He had a turnover scrum for being very dominant and a couple of others where he was also in the ascendancy. So, yes, it will be pretty confusing for him.
“But he will bounce back.”
At least Bevington has retained the confidence of the Wales team management, the Porthcawl product being named in the squad for the autumn series.
He is one of ten Ospreys players in the 35-strong line-up, eight of them forwards, including the uncapped Aaron Jarvis.
Jarvis’s elevation completes a remarkable two months for the tight-head, during which he has emerged from the shadows to get within touching distance of a cap.
Born in Exeter, he was at pains yesterday to underline his links to Wales. “My nan is from Merthyr, my son was born in Wales, my wife is half-Welsh and my father-in-law is Welsh,” he said.
“So there’s quite a connection.
“I also owe the Ospreys a lot as they brought me over and have developed me as a player.
“The coaches have been great and I hope I am repaying their faith.
“It was a great opportunity to come here and learn from the likes of Adam Jones. That was a big draw for me in the first place.
“Being behind Adam hasn’t hampered me. He’s probably the best tight-head in the world and I am picking up as much as I can from him. Just being around him is definitely aiding my development.
“It helps more than hinders me.”
Jarvis has been to the ice chambers in Spala with Bath, so he will not be stepping into the unknown next week. “I’m just looking forward to being a part of the squad,” he said.
“It was a surprise when I got the call, but I was very excited — I went through every positive emotion possible, not knowing what to do with myself.
“I’ve been to the Millennium Stadium once when I was younger with my father-in-law and just to watch a match there was phenomenal. Playing there would be great.”