Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder was not happy with the performance of referee Bryce Lawrence in his team's loss to the Hurricanes last week.
The seven-time champions were sunk by the Hurricanes in front of their home crowd in Christchurch which leaves them facing a tough battle to get into the play-offs.
The visitors showed plenty of character to secure the narrow victory and keep their own play-off hopes alive, but Blackadder was left fuming as he felt that there had been obstructive running in the build-up to both of Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith's two tries.
He told Fairfax NZ News: "There were two tries that shouldn't have been allowed for a start. Those things, they hurt you and they kill you."
Smith's first try saw Julian Savea block Crusaders flyhalf Tom Taylor in front of the tryline and Blackadder said that in cases such as these the TMO should be given greater powers to ensure that the fairest outcome is reached.
"To me that was not a try. If there was a TMO like rugby league, they wouldn't have allowed it," Blackadder said.
The Crusaders boss was further frustrated when Hurricanes lock Jeremy Thrush was allowed to obstruct Luke Romano in the lead-up to Smith's second try, but admitted that despite these issues his team had not been accurate enough on the night.
"Even the second one [was dubious], when they had a guy in our defensive line as obstruction. But we weren't quite on song and put our hands up and took responsibility for what wasn't a very accurate performance," he said.
Referee Lawrence was at the centre of controversy at last year's World Cup when many South African felt aggrieved at his application of the breakdown laws in the Springboks' quarterfinal defeat to the Wallabies.
Apparently Blackadder did not speak to Lawrence after the match, but did have a lengthy discussion with SANZAR referees boss Lyndon Bray.
The loss to the Hurricanes has placed even more importance on the Crusaders' clash with the table-topping Chiefs in Hamilton this weekend and Blackadder said that his team are aware it could make or break their season.
"We are now in a death struggle to make the play-offs. We have a lot to do to make the top six. We just have to absolutely focus on our tasks this week and on getting a result on Friday," he said.