Six Nations - England to complain about refereeing of Wales clash

England's rugby coaches believe that their chances of a Grand Slam were scuppered by the referee who took charge of the Six Nations decider against Wales at the weekend.

Six Nations - England to complain about refereeing of Wales clash

View photo

Steve Walsh takes charge of Wales v England - 16 March 2013

The Times reports that England are to launch a complaint with the International Rugby Board about Steve Walsh, the New Zealand-born match official who was tasked with looking after the match at the Millennium Stadium.

England conceded 16 penalties in the match, almost all of which came at set pieces - and the England camp are aggrieved as they feel they were "barely allowed to contest for the ball".

“I sat up on Saturday night and watched the game again forensically,” Rowntree told the newspaper.

“I’m annoyed at a lot of the outcomes and I will be speaking to the IRB to get some clarification about it."

Walsh awarded a total of 12 penalties and four free-kicks against England, who won just one of four scrums on their own ball at the Millennium Stadium.

“A lot of those decisions were big, momentum-changing decisions. Chris [Robshaw] was getting frustrated but I thought he handled it very professionally," Rowntree added.

“I’ll go back and tell the lads how we’ve got to do things better because we were disappointed with the outcome on a lot of those [calls], particularly scrum penalties.”

Walsh has a chequered history in the game, having been suspended several times: once for allegedly throwing water at an England fitness coach, once for getting involved in an furious argument with a player while acting as a touch judge in a Lions match, and once for turning up drunk at an IRB referees' conference.

But it was not just the Wales v England match which saw problems at the scrum. Fans and players alike have become increasingly depressed at the officiating of scrums, which increasingly result in penalties being awarded on an apparently random basis. "There is a danger of the game becoming a lottery," The Times's correspondent Mark Souster writes.

Some pundits have claimed that England simply need to become more streetwise in adapting their tactics to the referee on the day, but Rowntree rejected that idea.

"I don’t buy the whole streetwise thing, we just want a clean outcome," he said.

View comments (1613)