Ryan rues referee appointment
January 28, 2006

Gloucester coach Dean Ryan claimed the appointment of international referee Jonathan Kaplan contributed to his side's 13-9 defeat against London Irish.

The South African took charge of the Guinness Premiership game at Kingsholm to prepare for next Sunday's RBS 6 Nations clash between Scotland and France.

And Ryan felt his side struggled to adapt to the southern hemisphere official's interpretation of the laws.

``There were a lot of things we were unhappy with around the field,'' Ryan said.

``He's a world class referee and I would welcome him coming in for six or eight weeks but not for one game.

``We all know the Premiership is unique, just as the Super-14 is unique and the Tri-Nations is unique, but the laws are interpreted differently around the world and it's unfair on us to deal with that in a one-off game.''

Despite some occasional moments of brilliance from England hopefuls James Simpson-Daniel and Pete Richards, Gloucester were on the back foot for long spells against an Irish side expertly directed by Riki Flutey and veteran centre Mike Catt.

Number eight Juan Leguizamon was forced over for the game's only try and Flutey added a conversion and two penalties.

Ludovic Mercier replied with three penalties of his own, two of them in the final quarter to set up a tense finish.

But Irish held on with something to spare despite being reduced to 14 men when wing Topsy Ojo was sin-binned for killing the ball.

``We were out-thought in terms of field position,'' added Ryan. ``The Irish half-backs were very smart and kept their pack in the right areas of the field which we couldn't do.''

Delighted London Irish coach Brian Smith believes his side are now on course for a best ever finish in the Premiership.

The Exiles have never finished higher than sixth but are now aiming for a place in the top four which would secure a play-off place and qualification for next season's Heineken Cup.

``It wasn't pretty but we're not worried about that, it was always going to be a tight game,'' said Smith.

``We came here for a game between fourth and fifth in the table and the result means we're well in touch with the top four.

``We want to finish the season strongly, that top four is where we want to be and we're going for it.''

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