Rugby Union

Nonu's team were on the wrong end of a 27-30 defeat to Scarlets and exited the competition last night.

Toulon's Ma'a Nonu on wrong end of strong officiating in European Challenge Cup match

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Toulon's former All-Black inside centre Ma'a Nonu was involved in a heated exchange with the referee during Toulon's 27-30 defeat to Lanelli Scarlets in the European Challenge Cup.

The 35-year-old insisted that the referee gave a yellow card for a Scarlets player at a sold-out Parc y Scarlets last night.

Referee Wayne Barnes firstly spoke to Lanelli Scarlets captain Ken Owens after he deemed there to be 'too many penalties' being given for the home side. 

The English official was quick to let the former All Black know exactly what he would do if Nonu persisted with his demands, and said firmly: “Let’s make it really clear, you come ask for a yellow card, you’ll get one. Understand?”

The debacle came after a maul collapsed and respective Toulon and Scarlets players were tugging their opponents out of the way, including centre Paul Asquith, who was thrust out of the maul by Toulon's scrum half.

It was a historic night for the home team with a record 14,000+ attendance in South Wales as Scarlets became the first Welsh region team to progress to the last eight of the competition for six years.

Coach Wayne Pivac said: "It was a great atmosphere. To see what it meant to the fans after the final whistle went was fantastic.

"It is up there with anything we have achieved since we have been here. It was a David v Goliath situation in terms of budgets."

It's the first time that Scarlets have qualified for this round of the competition for 11 years, captain Ken Owens is the only squad player to have experienced that long wait.

It comes after Scarlets' successful Pro 14 campaign during 2016/17, and this season they are in sight of more European silverware.

Toulon's Ma'a Nonu was prominent in the second half, piling on the pressure for the away side in an enthralling close encounter, but the Scarlets will progress to the quarter-finals.

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