Lions coach Johan Ackermann did not enjoy the farewell he was hoping for as his 14 men slipped to a 25‑17 defeat in the Super Rugby final against the Crusaders, suggesting an early red card ruined what was shaping up to be an even contest.
Ackermann will start work at English side Gloucester on Thursday, ending a four‑ year stay with the Lions that has included two Super Rugby final defeats.
Flanker Kwagga Smith crashed into an airborne Crusaders fullback David Havili as he tried to pull out of a contest for a high ball and was sent off by referee Jaco Peyper a minute before halftime at Ellis Park.
Ackermann did not dispute the officials were right in terms of applying the rules, but says red cards for such incidents are wrong.
After the game, Ackerman told reporters I don’t think 63,000 people paid money to see a 15 versus 14 game.
Ackermann also gave praise to the Crusaders, who he felt managed the game well.