Wednesday 19 September 2018

Rolland apologises to Wales over TMO error

Referee Alain Rolland. Photo: James Crombie/INPHO
Referee Alain Rolland. Photo: James Crombie/INPHO
David Kelly

David Kelly

Wales have vowed to move on from last Saturday's TMO farce and target Ireland aerially when the sides meet on Saturday week after World Rugby apologised for denying Gareth Anscombe a try in their 12-6 defeat by England at Twickenham.

TMO Clint Newman, who had been flown in from New Zealand to fulfil his duties, asserted that the Welsh full-back Anscombe had not properly grounded the ball before English winger Anthony Watson got both hands to it.

Former Ireland scrum-half and World Cup final referee Alain Rolland, now World Rugby head of referees, contacted Welsh coach Warren Gatland earlier this week and conceded that the try should have been awarded, notwithstanding other suggestions that there had been an earlier knock-on by Steff Evans in the build-up to the score.

"It was good to have a dialogue with World Rugby and they confirmed the TMO made a mistake in a phone call to Warren on Monday," said Welsh assistant coach Rob Howley.

"It is disappointing that it happened, but we have to move on and focus on our next match in Ireland.

"There was plenty of time after the decision and we had a couple of opportunities we could have taken," added Howley.

"When the weather improved we played with intent and ambition but, not rewarded on the scoreboard and coming up short. It is always a chance lost when it is a one-score game."

As Wales attempt to put last week's disappointment behind them, thoughts are already turning to their Dublin clash against an Ireland side who have not beaten them since winning the second of successive Six Nations titles in 2015.

After being dominated for lengthy periods by the English side's superior kicking and territorial game, it is likely that Wales will change up their selection for the Dublin encounter - particularly amongst the back three, with fit-again Leigh Halfpenny likely to join George North and perhaps Liam Williams there.

Influence

Howley was also Gatland's assistant on the summer Lions tour to New Zealand and he knows that limiting the influence of Irish half-backs Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton will be pivotal to the outcome.

"They're great players - Conor and Johnny. They understand the game and they've got vast experience.

"The English kicking game was outstanding at Twickenham and we expect no different from Conor and Johnny."

Irish Independent

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