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Ref decisions spark Six Nations debate

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27th February, 2021
15

England coach Eddie Jones remained tight-lipped over the controversial decisions that helped Wales win their Six Nations clash in Cardiff but there was no shortage of debate among pundits.

Wales scored four tries against England for the first time in 23 years and ran out deserved 40-24 winners after cashing in on the visitors’ indiscipline.

However, it was the tries by Josh Adams and Liam Williams that have 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 No.10 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.

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Jones held his tongue in his post-match interview with the BBC.

“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 was less diplomatic.

“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.

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 per cent of matches.

© AAP