London (AFP) – Wales have been told by World Rugby’s referees supremo that the television match official made a mistake with his controversial decision to disallow them a try in their Six Nations defeat by England last weekend.
With England leading 12-0 at Twickenham on Saturday, Wales back Gareth Anscombe, under pressure from home wing Anthony Watson, chased down a kick ahead from fly-half Rhys Patchell.
It was a close call but many observers felt Anscombe had been first to the ball although, even after numerous replay viewings, there appeared to be some doubt as to whether he had grounded the ball correctly.
Had the try been awarded England’s advantage would have been cut to 12-5, with a conversion to come.
As it was, England held on for a 12-6 win with Wales restricted to two penalties.
Wales coach Warren Gatland called the no-try ruling by television match official Glenn Newman, a fellow New Zealander, a “terrible mistake” and took up the issue with World Rugby’s high performance match officials manager Alain Rolland, as part of a regular dialogue all national team bosses have during the Six Nations with the former Test referee.
“I know Warren Gatland spoke to Alain Rolland, and they confirmed that the TMO made a mistake,” Wales assistant coach Rob Howley told reporters on Tuesday.
“It was good to have dialogue with World Rugby. That phone call took place — I think it was yesterday (Monday) — and Alain Rolland confirmed on behalf of World Rugby that the TMO made a mistake,” the former Wales scrum-half added.
“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.”
Howley insisted, however, that Wales could still have won the game regardless of Newman’s ruling.
“There was plenty of time after that decision. We had a couple of opportunities which we should have taken.”
Wales, who opened their Six Nations campaign with a 34-7 thrashing of Scotland, next play Ireland in Dublin on February 24.