DRAGONS boss Dean Ryan was riled by referee Marius Mitrea’s call to send off Taine Basham, insisting it was “at worst a yellow card”.

Ryan’s return to Sixways where he had spent three years as director of rugby ended in defeat as Warriors won 34-28 on Saturday.

And Ryan said a catalogue of refereeing decisions in the European Challenge Cup clash left him pulling his hair out.


The key moment came on 18 minutes when number eight Basham was given his marching orders for a tip-tackle on replacement back Gareth Simpson.

But without access to a television match official (TMO) at Sixways Ryan reckoned Mitrea should not have dismissed Basham.

“I don’t think it was a red card,” Ryan said.

“It was a rugby incident that can be dealt with a penalty or at worst a yellow card.

“He kept saying he has not got a TMO so why is he jumping to give a red when he hasn’t got a TMO to confirm.

“It was nowhere near a full tip and with no TMO to reinforce that I just don’t understand.

“There are rugby incidents in a collision sport and I don’t believe that was a situation that merited a red card.”

Ryan also claimed there was a “blocking situation” in the build-up to Ryan Mills’ first-half try and a “high shot” on Sam Davies before Ollie Lawrence went over.

“Go and have a look at the footage and see the high shot on Sam that spills the ball out,” Ryan said.

“I was just pulling my hair out.

“We don’t referee by TMO, we referee by a team of officials. I just can’t understand why we can’t see that.”

But Ryan was also keen to praise his players as they made life difficult for Warriors and rescued a losing bonus point that keeps Dragons top of Pool One.

“That’s an incredible shift for effectively 70 minutes,” said Ryan whose side face Worcester at Rodney Parade on Friday.

“We hardly put a foot wrong in terms of our organisation.

“I could sit here all day and say Warriors’ first try was a blocking situation and their second was a high shot on Sam (Davies).

“But what’s the point? Let’s just focus on how proud I am of our group and how we performed in incredible circumstances.

“The emotion in the changing room is that we cannot wait for next week.”