Eddie Jones criticises World Rugby's controversial stance on Wales' disallowed try against England
Eddie Jones has criticised World Rugby in the wake of England’s victory over Wales after the world governing body admitted that Gareth Anscombe’s disallowed try should have been awarded by the television match official (TMO) during last weekend’s Six Nations encounter at Twickenham.
Referee Jerome Garces called on TMO Glenn Newman to review Anscombe’s apparent score during England’s 12-6 victory, with video replays appearing to show a clear grounding by the Welsh full-back. Having viewed two replays of the incident, New Zealander Newman chalked off the try in England’s favour, with Wales coach Warren Gatland raging against the decision and seeking clarification over why the score was not awarded.
World Rugby responded to Gatland on Monday to confirm that Newman “made a mistake” because Anscombe has “grounded the ball”, but Jones was critical of the decision to look back at the incident and added that the governing body “have a record of doing it” in the past.
“Well they’ve done it before,” Jones said on Tuesday. “I’m on a good behaviour bond so I’ve got to be careful what I say. I just think once the game’s done and dusted that’s the game, you can’t have retrospective refereeing of decisions being done, it’s done and dusted.
“We’ve got to trust the referees, respect their integrity. When I say respect the referee, that’s the TV process as well, and then you leave it at that, and then you get on with it. One side’s won, one side’s lost.
“In Japan they have a great saying: at full-time there’s no side. That’s one of traditions of rugby, you get on with it, you respect that decision. If you haven’t got the rub of the green then you know you probably get it in the next couple of games. So yeah, that’s all I’ve got to say.”
Jones’ reference that World Rugby have done this before is an acknowledgement of the statement that was issued after Scotland’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final exit to Australia in 2015, when they confirmed that the decision by Craig Joubert to penalise the Scots for an apparent offside was wrong. Scotland went on to lose the match 35-34 to the resulting Bernard Foley penalty, with the resulting backlash leading to a match officials’ performance review being issued by World Rugby to criticise Joubert’s decision.
Jones also reiterated his support for TMOs despite World Rugby’s stance on last weekend’s decision, adding: “The TMOs do an excellent job. They make a decision. I don’t have anything else to say on that.”
With Scotland next up on the horizon for England, Jones put his side through their paces against Georgia on Tuesday as the second-tier European side travelled to west London for a two-day training session. With a big emphasis on England’s scrummaging given Georgia’s renowned reputation at the set-piece, Jones believes that there’s plenty for his players to learn from their European counterparts given that uniqueness that they possess in the front-row.
“Georgia were just the sort of scrum we needed to scrum against – strong, scrummed in a different way,” Jones said.
“The boys learnt a number of different things. They [Georgia] had the superiority early on and we came back well. It was an excellent session for us.
“Georgia just use their head and shoulders in different ways. There are different ways of excepting pressure in scrums – some of its old fashioned, some new fashioned. They do different things. They scrum for a living and our guys have learnt a number of different things today.
“They found different ways to except pressure and with the new laws, it is finding new ways of excepting pressure without moving their feet and Georgia are very good at that – exceptional. They do it better than most and we are all trying to chase how to put pressure in without making the scrum unstable, but Georgia are better than anyone at doing that.”
There was bad news for England though Jones confirmed that back-row Sam Simmonds could miss the rest of the Six Nations, with the Exeter Chiefs forward injuring his right shoulder in the victory over Wales. Jones also confirmed that neither Anthony Watson – who went off early in the second half with a leg injury – nor Owen Farrell will train fully this week.
“Simmonds has got a joint problem in his shoulder and he won’t be available for at least the next two [matches],” he confirmed. “Anthony Watson and Owen Farrell probably won't train this week, but we imagine they should be available for Scotland. I won’t go into the details, but they have slight leg injuries.”
There was further bad news on the Wasps back Elliot Daly, who has suffered a setback in his recovery from injury having damaged his other calf on his return to training. The 25-year-old injured his ankle last December and was expected to miss the first three rounds of the Six Nations, only for a swift recovery putting him in contention to face Scotland a week on Saturday. However, Jones confirmed that Daly picked up a fresh knock at the start of the week that could rule him out of the Scotland clash.
He said: “Elliot Daly has come back, but now injured his other calf. We are not sure how serious that is, so we will wait and see. He may come in next week.”
But there was at least a slice of good news regarding Daly’s Wasps teammate Nathan Hughes, who made his comeback from a two-month knee injury on Sunday and played a full part in Tuesday’s training session, with the ball-carrying No 8 in line to make an immediate return in place of the injured Simmonds. He will not, however, return to Wasps for this weekend’s visit of Exeter as Jones wants to keep a watchful eye on his recovery. “It is timely, but he has a lot of work to do and he knows that. He needs to do some heavy conditioning work and he needs to do that with us.”