Beauden Barrett dives for the ball with James Tuttle of the Reds. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES
By Jake Beleski
George Ayoub was the busiest man at Suncorp Stadium when the Hurricanes played the Reds on Saturday night, and he wasn’t even on the field.
The Australian was sitting comfortably in the television match official’s box, but he was given anything but a comfortable evening as he was forced to overturn four Hurricanes’ tries after they had been awarded on the field.
He got every decision spot on, but it resulted in an emotionally draining night for the Hurricanes who repeatedly had to drag themselves back down the other end of the field after thinking they had scored.
Jordie Barrett had a mixed night with his goal-kicking, but he wasn’t helped by having the ball on the tee four times before being told a kick would not be necessary after the tries in question were deemed illegal.
We should thank Ayoub for overturning the Hurricanes’ third try, as it was the decision that turned the match into a thrilling contest.
With the Hurricanes leading 14-0 Beauden Barrett hacked a loose ball ahead and won the race to score the try, but on closer inspection it was ruled second five Ngani Laumape had flattened Reds’ first five Jake McIntyre with a late hit, and he was rightfully yellow-carded.
In his absence the Reds scored two tries, and all of a sudden we had a match on our hands.
TJ Perenara had the captain’s armband with Dane Coles enjoying a week off, and he celebrated by scoring his 40th try, a record for halfbacks in the competition.
But it was his comical interaction with referee Angus Gardner that the match will be remembered for.
He had already been warned for talking to the officials too much, but Perenara had the last laugh.
After being awarded a try from a quick tap when he scampered over between the posts, Ayoub again intervened to point out he had not actually made contact with the ball when he went to tap it, meaning the try was disallowed.
Gardner surprisingly went to award the Red’s a scrum, but Perenara knew better.
He pointed out that it should still be a Hurricanes’ penalty as play had never officially started again from the original penalty.
Gardner looked perplexed by the whole situation and then suddenly realised he had made a mistake, before agreeing with Perenara and sheepishly reinstating the penalty for the Hurricanes.
Despite Ayoub’s involvement the Hurricane’s got their fifth try and with it the bonus point, eventually running away 34-15 winners.
Scorers: Hurricanes 34 (J. Savea, TJ. Perenara, V. Aso, J. Barrett, B. Barrett tries; J. Barrett 3 con, pen) Reds 15 (C. Kuridrani, S. Higginbotham tries; J. McIntyre con, pen).