Six Nations: Eddie Jones accuses World Rugby of undermining officials in rumbling TMO row

Daniel Schofield
The Telegraph
Eddie Jones accuses World Rugby of undermining officials in rumbling TMO row
Eddie Jones accuses World Rugby of undermining officials in rumbling TMO row

England head coach Eddie Jones accused World Rugby of undermining their own match officials after the governing body confirmed that Gareth Anscombe’s disallowed try should have stood in Wales’ 12-6 defeat at Twickenham.

Glenn Newman, the television match official, ruled that Wales full-back had not clearly grounded the ball during the first half of the NatWest Six Nations match. Warren Gatland, the Wales head coach, labelled it a “terrible mistake” after the game and on Tuesday World Rugby released a statement admitting that Newman had made an error.

During the 2015 World Cup, World Rugby also publicly stated that referee Craig Joubert had been wrong to award Australia a decisive penalty in the 78th minute of their 35-34 quarter-final victory against Scotland.

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Last night Jones criticised World Rugby’s intervention, arguing that the debate should have ended at the final whistle. “Well they’ve done it before and again, as I said I’m on a good behaviour bond, so I’ve got to be careful what I say,” Jones said. “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.”

The incident occurred in the 23rd minute of the game as Rhys Patchell threaded a grubber into the left-hand corner that Anscombe appeared to ground ahead of England full-back Anthony Watson. Newman took around 70 seconds to make his decision and told referee Jérôme Garcès that the ball “not been clearly grounded [by Anscombe], the first grounding of the ball is by England.”

Subsequent still photographs appear to show that Anscombe had beaten Watson to the ball, although there are other angles that suggest Steff Evans may have knocked the ball on. The Wales management said after the game that they would be seeking clarification on the decision, which they received yesterday from World Rugby referees chief Alain Rolland.

“I know Warren Gatland spoke to Alain Rolland, and they confirmed that the TMO made a mistake,” Rob Howley, the Wales attack coach, said. “It was good to have dialogue with World Rugby. That phone call took place – I think it was yesterday – and Alain Rolland confirmed on behalf of World Rugby that the TMO made a mistake.

“It’s happened. It is disappointing that happens in professional sport, but we focus on the next two weeks and getting ourselves ready for Ireland. There was plenty of time after that decision. We had a couple of opportunities which we should have taken.”

Newman is not due to officiate another Six Nations match this year and in a statement released by World Rugby put the blame on the New Zealander rather than Garcès. “World Rugby has clarified to the Wales team management as part of the usual review process with teams that the TMO made an error in the application of law during the England versus Wales match at Twickenham,” said the governing body,” a spokesperson said. “In accordance with law 21.1 b, Wales should have been awarded a try as the Wales player grounded the ball.”

Meanwhile, Jones confirmed that No8 Nathan Hughes is due to start against Scotland on  Feb 28  after Exeter’s Sam Simmonds was ruled out for the next two games with a shoulder injury. Hughes only just returned from two months out with a knee injury. “He will be fit,” Jones said. “We will make sure he is fit.”

Wasps wing Elliot Daly has also injured his calf having just recovered from a previous ankle injury. Fly-half Owen Farrell and wing Anthony Watson sat out the contact training against Georgia but are both expected to be fit for the trip to Murrayfield.

 

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