Hurricanes coach Jason Holland has stressed the importance of the referees getting the big calls right after his side's Super Rugby Aotearoa loss to the Blues in Auckland on Saturday.
The Hurricanes spent 20 minutes of the 27-17 loss a man light, after loose forwards Du'Plessis Kirifi and Ardie Savea were shown yellow cards in the 17th and 31st minutes.
While Holland had no issue with the decision around Kirifi's infringement – a sloppy cleanout that saw him take out Blues No 10 Otere Black and make contact with Black's head – he wasn't so agreeable when it came to Savea's.
Savea was not only sent to the sin bin but also conceded a penalty try when he was deemed to have collapsed the Blues' driving maul close to the tryline.
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"They just have to make sure they get those big ones right, don't they? Seven points from a penalty try and a sin bin...you can't play with 14 and create tempo and things like that," Holland said.
"When there's big calls like that, they have got to be bang on."
Savea added: "I thought I was just stopping Ofa from scoring the try, but at the end of the day it's the ref's call and when they make the call you can't argue – well, I tried to."
When asked if he thought the call was the right one, Holland replied: "No, I don't. It was a tough one, but you get those. You get those both ways, they're just unfortunately big swings in the game."
Just as they did last weekend when prop Tyrel Lomax was sin binned against the Highlanders, the Hurricanes managed both periods where they were reduced to 14-men well against the Blues. In those 20 minutes combined, the Blues only added three points to the penalty try through a penalty goal late in the first half.
However, they were unable to make the most of their own opportunities throughout the match and the Blues stormed home to win by a flattering 10-point margin.
"We felt like we were on top of them in that first half," Savea said. "We had a lot of possession and just couldn't nail that last pass or last moment. It's probably come down to individual errors."