Rugby-Refereeing decisions spark furious debate after Wales win

Wales scored four tries against England for the first time in 23 years and ran out deserved winners after cashing in on the visitors' indiscipline but it was the scores by Josh Adams and Liam Williams that have got everyone talking. French referee Pascal Gauzere instructed England captain Owen Farrell to speak to his players after a spate of early penalties.

Reuters | Cardiff | Updated: 28-02-2021 02:49 IST | Created: 28-02-2021 02:02 IST
Rugby-Refereeing decisions spark furious debate after Wales win
French referee Pascal Gauzere instructed England captain Owen Farrell to speak to his players after a spate of early penalties. Image Credit: Wikimedia

England's coach and captain remained tight-lipped over the controversial decisions that gave Wales two early tries in Saturday's 40-24 Six Nations victory in Cardiff on Saturday but there was no shortage of debate among pundits and fans. Wales scored four tries against England for the first time in 23 years and ran out deserved winners after cashing in on the visitors' indiscipline but it was the scores by Josh Adams and Liam Williams that have got everyone talking.

French referee Pascal Gauzere instructed England captain Owen Farrell to speak to his players after a spate of early penalties. They were just emerging from that huddle under the posts, some still taking on drinks, when the referee signalled for the game to restart. Wales flyhalf Dan Biggar immediately sent a high kick into the unguarded corner for Adams to catch and score.

A furious Farrell remonstrated with the referee, saying "you have to give us time to reset", but was brushed aside. Not long after, Wales wing Louis Rees-Zammit dropped the ball in flight, throwing his head back in dismay, and though Williams scooped it up to score, everyone on the pitch appeared to assume play would be called back for a knock-on.

However, the TMO ruled that Rees-Zammit had dropped it on to his leg and so, even though it travelled forwards, it did not count as a knock-on. Farrell might have fumed at the referee on the pitch, but held his tongue in a tetchy post-match interview with the BBC.

"There is no point in talking about it now," he said. "That is for everyone else to talk about. Maybe there were tough calls but we've got to be good enough to overcome that." Coach Eddie Jones took a similar approach.

"They're huge decisions, we can't debate it - we are not allowed to debate it. All I will end up with is a fine and that won't help anyone," he said. Former England captain and coach Martin Johnson took a different tack.

"I'm speechless, that is appalling refereeing," he said of the first try in his role as a TV analyst. "His wingers have come in 30 yards to be part of the conversation and he's given them two seconds to get back." Former Wales captain Sam Warburton agreed: "I would be fuming if I was Owen Farrell - you cannot respond in half a second," he said.

TECHNICALLY CORRECT The two former British and Irish Lions captains disagreed over the knock-on, however, with Warburton saying it was a technically correct decision and Johnson saying it would be ruled a knock-on in 98% of matches.

Fellow pundit, former England prop David Flatman, stirred the pot by saying: "Based on this evidence, World Rugby should consider substituting refs, not just players. The first half was an oval-shaped omnishambles. "If Louis Rees-Zammit didn't knock that on, then the game I've been watching for 40 years isn't rugby. Equally, Josh Adams' try was exceptionally well taken, but should never have been allowed.

"England weren't undone by Wales. They were undone by some astonishingly poor refereeing and by their own equally astonishing inability to stop doing daft, unforced, illegal things." The final comment was a reference to the 14 penalties England conceded, three of which were turned into nine points in the final 15 minutes by replacement flyhalf Callum Sheedy to take the game out of the visitors' reach after they had battled back to 24-all.

"There were times we gave away penalties we shouldn't have, it was just from the effort and sometimes you get in situations where emotionally you struggle because of the circumstances and you try too hard," Jones said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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