London Welsh director of rugby Rowland Phillips felt Chris Hala’uifa’s 55th-minute sending-off had a “massive influence” on their 38-17 defeat by Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday.

The big Tongan was yellow-carded by referee Tim Wigglesworth for a shoulder charge type tackle on opposite number Laurence Pearce.

But when the referee saw a replay showing Hala’ufia pushing Pearce’s head into the ground while he was on the floor, he decided to send him off.

Phillips was “disappointed and confused” by the decision.

“I did not see anything wrong with the tackle,” he said. “The initial call was that it was ‘no arms’.


“I don’t know whether he was yellow-carded for what was deemed to be a ‘no arms’ tackle, or red-carded for pushing the guy on the floor.

"It had a massive influence on the game.”

Leicester’s head of rugby, Richard Cockerill, said Hala’ufia’s got the red for pushing Pearce’s head into the ground, adding: “It’s not really what you want to see.”

Welsh have just one point from 20 games, but Phillips said losing at Leicester was frustrating.

“You can’t be satisfied with conceding 38 points,” he said. “We were in front at half-time, and with 20 minutes to go were still in the game.

“We came here to win, so it’s very frustrating for me.”