Tuesday 18 December 2018

Gatland to seek clarification over Welsh 'try'

England 12 Wales 6

England’s Anthony Watson and Gareth Anscombe of Wales battle to ground the ball first in an incident which Wales claim should have been awarded as a try. Photo: Reuters
England’s Anthony Watson and Gareth Anscombe of Wales battle to ground the ball first in an incident which Wales claim should have been awarded as a try. Photo: Reuters

Charlie Morgan

Wales will seek clarification from World Rugby's officiating department this week over why a try for Gareth Anscombe was not awarded during the first-half of their defeat at Twickenham.

Warren Gatland criticised a "bad call" from the television match official Glenn Newman, who adjudged that England winger Anthony Watson touched the ball down ahead of Anscombe.

England’s Anthony Watson and Gareth Anscombe of Wales battle to ground the ball first in an incident which Wales claim should have been awarded as a try. Photo: Reuters
England’s Anthony Watson and Gareth Anscombe of Wales battle to ground the ball first in an incident which Wales claim should have been awarded as a try. Photo: Reuters

As well as the decision itself, he will query the communication between Newman and referee Jerome Garces that led to it.

Gatland's opinion will form part of the officials' routine match review, a detailed process that is managed by World Rugby's high performance match official manager Alain Rolland with the support of Anthony Buchanan, chair of the Match Officials Selection Committee.

These comprise of video analysis, self-appraisal, feedback from both coaching teams and the assessment of a World Rugby performance reviewer.

Although Newman's commitments for the 2018 Six Nations are now over, Garces is still scheduled to stand as an assistant for England's visit to Murrayfield on February 24 and to oversee Wales against Italy on March 11.

England's Mike Brown and Wales' Josh Adams (right) rise for the ball. Photo: PA
England's Mike Brown and Wales' Josh Adams (right) rise for the ball. Photo: PA

The Frenchman finishes his tournament as a touch judge for Italy's meeting with Scotland on March 17. Still, given that Test match appointments take past performances into account, both Garces and Newman could be overlooked for future assignments.

"(Newman) just made a bad call, didn't he," said Gatland. "It will be interesting to chat to him to see what his explanation is of it. I don't know anyone who has said they agree with the decision."

Garces asked Newman "try or no try?" after Watson and Anscombe had dived towards a loose ball in England's in-goal area in the 24th minute. After studying replays and although television pictures seemed to indicate that Anscombe had scored under law 21.1b, Newman responded: "The ball has not been clearly grounded. The first grounding was by England, therefore it is a scrum."

Anscombe himself refused to use the setback as an excuse and revealed that Wales' players had not mentioned it at half-time.

Wales' Rhys Patchell kicks the ball. Photo: PA
Wales' Rhys Patchell kicks the ball. Photo: PA

However, the 26-year-old did admit that he thought the try should have been given.

"I felt some pressure of the ball on the ground," he said. "I thought that I got it down, but the decision didn't go our way."

Despite seeing his team's hopes of a Grand Slam slip away, Gatland praised Wales' resilience as he looked ahead with confidence to facing Ireland in a fortnight.

"The changing room was not down at all," he explained. "We felt there was a try disallowed and we kept England scoreless in the second-half. We were pleased with how strong we finished the game.

Wales' George North is tackled. Photo: PA
Wales' George North is tackled. Photo: PA

"And, considering we still think we are 20-25pc off being as fit and as sharp as we will be by the time the World Cup comes around, we are in a pretty good place."

© Daily Telegraph, London

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