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20th Nov 2015

Ulster fans would be forgiven for believing Champions Cup conspiracy theories

Not one bit happy

Patrick McCarry

Saracens had two players sent to the sin bin in their 27-9 victory over Ulster at Ravenhill on Friday night, but home fans were baying for more as they slumped to a crushing defeat.

Ulster supporters were livid after Saracens Mike Rhodes received just a yellow card after taking Andrew Trimble out of it after only three minutes of their Champions Cup pool match.

Rhodes thundered into Trimble as he claimed a high ball and was fortunate the Ulster winger landed on his back.

The incident was dangerously similar to the offence that saw Jared Payne see red against the same side – also after three minutes – in the 2013/14 cup semi-final.

A recent rule change means a yellow for players tackled mid-air that land on their back. It is a red card if the fouled player lands on their shoulder or head.

So, one could easily say the luck of the bounce – Trimble’s – saved Saracens.

Here are the two incidents:



There was another yellow card shown to the Premiership side, in the second half. Billy Vunipola was given 10 minutes to cool his jets after a no-arm tackle on Iain Henderson.

Rory Best was sent to the bin with a minute to play and Sarries bossed over for their bonus point-clinching fourth try.