Saturday 27 May 2017

Neil Francis explains why Wales star Davies was 'lucky not to get done for sledging' after crucial maul decision

10 March 2017; Jonathan Davies of Wales celebrates near the end of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Wales and Ireland at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
10 March 2017; Jonathan Davies of Wales celebrates near the end of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Wales and Ireland at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

In a game full of big moments, it was hard not to conclude that the most pivotal of all came when Robbie Henshaw was penalised for incorrectly joining a maul just as it was about to rumble over the Welsh try line.

The score would have put Ireland one point behind with the conversion to come and just ten minutes remaining, but Wayne Barnes correctly adjudicated that the inside centre had infringed in trying to help his pack squeeze over.

Read more: Neil Francis: Ireland's mistakes against Wales were symptomatic of the mental malaise

In what was a recurring image throughout the contest, Wales were seriously pumped up afterwards, slapping each other on the back and hollering with furious delight after withstanding another close-range Irish attack.

However, in the opinion of Neil Francis, the maul penalty could have been overturned after the behaviour of one Welsh star.

Writing in his Sunday Independent column, the pundit argues that Jonathan Davies could well have been whistled for sledging after the missed try chance.

"Davies was himself lucky not to get a yellow for sledging after Rory Best’s try was disallowed," Francis wrote.

"As soon as Barnes awarded a penalty to Wales, Davies came into the ruck and patted Best and Robbie Henshaw vigorously on their heads while they were on the ground and shouted something at them.

Read more: Tony Ward: Time for Schmidt axe to fall - Dropping Heaslip and Kearney the right call

"The directive for this sort of behaviour is a reversal of penalty and on occasion a yellow. Well, I suppose it was last year’s directive . . ."

Ireland manufactured one last chance to snatch victory after forcing a 5m scrum, but a mix-up in attack resulted in a knock on and Wales held out to end Joe Schmidt's side's Six Nations chances.

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