Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham was left fuming after a potentially match-winning try was disallowed in the final minutes of his side's quarter-final loss to the Highlanders.
Larkham was blunt speaking after his side's 15-9 loss to the Highlanders, after the replacement winger Lausii Taliauli had a 75th minute try disallowed following a TMO review that ruled the footage inconclusive.
The Brumbies coach had only praise for his charges, many of whom played their final Brumbies matches for now or forever on Friday night, but didn’t shy away from criticising that crucial decision.
"We should be in the semi finals right now," he said.
"I give credit where it's due and I think the Highlanders played really good football but I thought we played better tonight and I think we deserved that win tonight," he said.
“It's hard for me not to comment on the refereeing but I can't see how Lausii didn't score that try.
“I don't know where the benefit of the doubt goes but I can't see any other answer to what happened there.
“It was clearly a try for everyone who saw it.”
The minutes that came after that, in which the Brumbies scrum eked out dominance in repeated resets, as it had all night also came under Larkham’s fire.
The Brumbies were on the favourable end of a 15-8 penalty count, but there was no whistle in that crucial final minutes from the set piece.
“We had a dominant scrum the whole game and I don't think that changed at the end. It was really tough - I thought that should've been a penalty there at the end.
“The boys did everything right, it was a seesawing battle, we made a couple of mistakes but we got to the point where we deserved to win that game and it's incredibly frustrating now to know that we lost it that way.
Brumbies co-captain Stephen Moore, visibly emotional after his final game for the Brumbies before switching to the Reds, was more philosophical about the decision.
“We knew we'd get some chances in the second half and we did and the few we got we just couldn't get it over the line,” he said.
“Lausii said in the sheds that he got it down but that's the process. That's the way it goes sometimes.”
The Brumbies weren’t the only ones who thought Taiauli’s movement was a score, with Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph and co-captain Ben Smith agreeing that it was a line ball decision.
“At first I thought he'd got over the line in one swoop,” Joseph said.
“The footage was, as the referee said, a little unclear so fortunate for us I guess.”
Smith echoed Joseph’s thoughts on that final TMO decision.
“I thought it was a try initially and then maybe after he looked at it a few times there was the possibility he lost it and it could've gone either way.
“Like Jamie said I'm just glad it went our way because that game could've gone either way.”