Danny Wilson has admitted he could understand Nigel Owens’ decision to red card Taufa’ao Filise – but still felt the decision was harsh.
The Cardiff Blues coach has paid tribute to his team’s tenacity after they lost 40-16 at Glasgow on Friday night, where they played all but the opening half hour with 14 men.
They were reduced to 13 when flanker Olly Robinson was sent to the sin bin, but it was the dismissal of Filise for a high tackle that proved the real turning point.
The 40-year-old prop was judged by Owen to have led with a shoulder to the head of ball-carrier George Turner, but only after watching numerous replays.
Wilson said: “The directives would suggest a shoulder to the head is a dangerous tackle and the guy went off with a head injury. So, I understand that. But I do think it’s a harsh red.
“Macauley Cook, who made the initial tackle, bumped the player into Fa’ao’s path and Fa’ao had no time to change his commitment or line to the tackle. He did try to wrap his arm.
“Was it a yellow card versus a red is a debate we will have but it’s a difficult one for Nigel (Owens) because the directives are pretty strict.”
An early penalty by Jarrod Evans and try by Macauley Cook, converted by Evans, allowed the visitors to build an early lead at Scotstoun.
Glasgow scored a try through Sam Johnson before Filise saw red on the half-hour mark, and Alex Dunbar also touched down.
Both scores were converted by Peter Horne to give the hosts a 14-13 lead at the break.
A third penalty from Evans soon after the restart briefly restored the visitors’ advantage, but Glasgow’s extra man soon told and further tries from Ruaridh Jackson, Samuela Vunisa, Leonardo Sarto and Nikola Matawalu put them out of sight.
Wilson added: “Obviously the red card was a game changing moment. We were in the lead at that point and the effort and commitment the boys showed to get back in the lead on 55 showed a huge effort.
“The scoreline at the end was one we won’t be happy with, we didn’t exit particularly well under pressure and two late tries probably flattered the score line a little bit.
“I’ve seen Cardiff Blues teams in the past, who in that situation would have collapsed a lot earlier but we showed huge commitment and passion to stay in the fight and unfortunately they scored two late tries.”