Six Nations: Scotland v France reaction: “I don’t understand the rationale” – Gregor Townsend

Scotland coach can't hide his frustration at referee Nic Berry's decision not to award his team a late try

Referee Nic Berry ruled that he couldn't conclusively see a grounding when Sam Skinner crossed the line for what would have been a last-minute match-winning try versus France. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Referee Nic Berry ruled that he couldn't conclusively see a grounding when Sam Skinner crossed the line for what would have been a last-minute match-winning try versus France. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

GREGOR TOWNSEND was at pains to pick his words wisely, but the Scotland coach was visibly seething after Sam Skinner was denied a last minyyre try which would have clinched a dramatic Six Nations round two victory over France at Murrayfield because neither referee Nic Berry nor TMO Brian MacNeice could identify the ball being grounded in any of the video angles of the incident.

With Scotland trailing 19-20 and the game approaching overtime, Scotland co-captain Finn Russell snaffled a loose ball to initiate one desperate final assault on the French try line, and after several tense phases Skinner powered over but was initially blocked from getting the ball down by replacement centre Yoram Moefana’s boot.

Berry’s on-field decision was that it was ‘no try’ but asked the TMO to take look, and after five tense minutes of reviewing the footage on one of the big screens at Murrayfield, he eventually ruled that there was no conclusive evidence to say that the ball had been grounded.


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“We were celebrating in the coaches’ box having seen the pictures of the ball being placed down on the try-line after having been on the player’s boot,” said Townsend. “That was also after hearing the communication to the referee from the TMO to say that the ball started on the foot and then went on the ground.

“The ref then says: ‘I can also see that on the ground’. Then their last interaction was: ‘Hang on, let’s look at that other angle … yeah it’s inconclusive now, stick with your on-field decision’.

“It was TMO-driven. If the referee is seeing the pictures we were all seeing in the stadium, maybe it’s on his shoulder as well to say: ‘That’s the ball down, that’s a try’. But the TMO was the one who changed his mind and said: ‘Stick with your on-field decision’.

“I don’t understand the rationale. When you see the pictures, and when you also see the conversation, they have already said between them that the ball has been placed on the try-line.”

“I’m absolutely gutted for the players,” Townsend added, before praising their resilience during a tense second half dominated by long kicking.

“The way the game was going in the second half, I didn’t think there would be any points scored at one stage – we were in control, said the coach.

“The long kicking strategy with players in front of the ball, that wasn’t leading to any problems. We were actually getting errors from them, we were six points ahead and it looked comfortable. But we did make an error that led to a scrum that led to a try [which put France 20-16 ahead].

“At the time, I thought it was going to be really difficult to score the required five points,” Townsend continued. “It was a fantastic effort to win the ball back, for Kyle Rowe to make his break and for Finn to win the ball back and set us up on the try-line.

“The emotions straight after that when I saw the pictures were: ‘What a fantastic win, what a team to come back – to play so well, go behind and come back – what a great victory for our supporters!’ Then it’s taken away from you.

“It’s sport, we know that, and we have to be better. That’s why you play and coach – to win but also to get better. We have to make sure we take winning and losing out of the hands of referees and TMOs.”

Townsend, who expressed dissatisfaction after last weekend’s narrow win over Wales at the lop-sided penalty count against his team [16-4], was asked if he thought the officials in these two games had done their their job properly.

“I’ll leave that to you guys to decide,” he replied. “All I can say is that we were celebrating a win, our players and a lot of our supporters were by the pictures we saw. We could hear the conversations.

“Gavin Hastings was in front of us, and the media were turning round a few times as well to ask, and I’m saying: ‘Yeah, it’s a try’.

“I’ll leave it to you guys to make any comment more than that, but we believe it was a try.”

 

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The harsh reality is that the decision has now been made and the loss registered, and that will not change under any circumstances. All Townsend and his team can now do is focus on the things they can fix after failing to put France to the sword following a dominant first half.

“That’s what we have to talk about with our players,” the coach agreed. “At 16-10, the game that was presented to us, the game of kick and stay in front of the kicker, [and] we dealt with that fine. We put a lot of pressure on their line-out but against the top teams in the world you have to be more than six points ahead.

“There are things we could have done better, but we didn’t feel it was going to lead to France getting ahead on the scoreboard. We still had a couple of opportunities in the second half that we could have taken, but we definitely had more chances in the first half.”

The second half kicking contest certainly suited France better than Scotland, and Townsend reasoned that his players could not have done much more than they did to change the pattern of the game.

“It’s not really a case of whether it suited us or not. A wet ball doesn’t suit teams, so you need to adapt. Finn, Harry [Paterson] and Ben [White] were the main people involved in terms of making the decisions to kick.

“Finn could have waited ten minutes, held the ball and the game would have ended. I’ve complained about this law a year ago when we were playing France. I think it’s a terrible part of the game. We saw it in the Bath versus Gloucester game with 12 kicks in a row. We don’t want to be a team who takes part in that. So a couple of times we kicked the ball out, and a couple of times Harry ran with it.”

Meanwhile, Scotland co-captain Rory Darge confirmed that he also thought it was a try, but was slightly more philosophical about the decision.

“It is what it is,” he shrugged. “Obviously, you get some decisions go your way and you get some against you. We’re absolutely gutted because Skinso [Skinner] feels like he’s got it, and when we’re watching the big screen it looks like its maybe down, but the decision was that it was no try so once it’s gone that way there’s not much you can do.

“For us, there is a couple of things in there we can do to avoid getting into that position, so that’s all we can focus on. There’s not much point focussing on whether that decision was right or not because it’s gone now.

“It’s obviously sore and its pretty raw right now, but we’ll look back at some point after relaxing tonight and taking a wee bit time away from it, and we’ll see some of the good stuff,” he added.

“The physicality, the way we managed the game, there’s lots of positives. The set-piece was really good as well, we put their line-out under a lot of pressure.

“But I’m sure we’ll look at the things we can get better at because there’s three games left, so our focus is on getting better at what we can.

“It’s tough to think about that right now, but we’ll start that on Monday or Tuesday.”

 

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Six Nations: Scotland v France live blog …

About David Barnes 3818 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

69 Comments

  1. I have two requests after that match:

    1. Get rid of TMO’s…we don’t need them. The game will survive nicely, and did so for many years.

    2. Get rid of Townsend. He is “milquetoast” at best. Where is that killer instinct we need to cut the head off other teams? That’s what wins championships, not words.

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  2. I have heard tho not confirmed that Scotland have complained to World Rugby about Sat decision. Do you not realise that at best this looks churlish and at worst very very sad loosers. If this rumour is true Scotland you need to get a grip ( if thats the right term) and move on. Dearie me I wonder what Hastie and Chisholm and Peter Stagg would have made of this nonsense!!

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    • I have a feeling but obviously no evidence, however I suspect they would say that we are entitled to complain about the ‘Product’ offered up in the shape of the Laws they have changed and the protocols they [World Rugby that is obviously] have introduced. They may also have suggested in the day and age [unfortunately] of professional rugby people who make a living from it are entitled to moan about the quality and the implementation of their diktats.
      I suspect from the tone of your comment, like me you wish the game hadn’t gone open but it has and as such we have to like it or lump it.

  3. I have never felt so sick after a game as yesterday. On top of feeling almost as sick as I did the week before – for completely opposite reasons. Only Scotland could do that to you.

    Despite the outrageous antics of the TMO and Ref yesterday (of course it was a try and should have been given and we should have won as a result) I think we need to take a deeper look at our leadership issues.

    For a few years now, we’ve lacked the ability to think clearly when under pressure, to remain disciplined when under pressure, to be ruthless when on top of an opponent – various scenarios where our biggest rivals are all stronger.

    Our team is a mature team now – super talented, with plenty of confidence-boosting wins under their belt.

    Coming into this 6 nations, we had low expectation/pressure, but you look around and France / England / Wales are all sub-par or in transition. This should be the year we finally mount a serious challenge – we are more experienced, settled team, settled coaching outfit and more talent than the other teams (with the exception of france).

    But as with the previous few years, we find ourselves in a number of situations of “what if” OR we shoot oureselves in the foot and destroy momentum.

    Last week, we should have put down a marker and destroyed the welsh. Instead, we let a bunch of kids almost get the comeback result of their dreams. We gave them that by just stepping back.

    Again this week, we’re fully on top, we have France right where we want them – and again, go passive, seemingly happy to play kick-tennis when only 6 pts ahead.

    IN both these scenarios, there is a serious lack of leadership and appreciation for what it takes to win test matches.

    I can’t help but think we have a coach who has never been in the thick of a pack and was seen as talented but flaky. I love Russell, but he could also be put in a similar bracket (but one of the best players we’ve had and so important to this team). I didn’t agree with making him captain as he has far too much else on his plate.
    AND makign him captain doesn’t solve the final piece of this team’s jigsaw we’ve needed for several years now – the mongrel, dog, bloody-minded ruthlessness that would enable us to take the next step and win games like the one yesterday (without having to rely on an official doing their job).

    I tink the captaincy question has been fudged, just like it was when they gave Hogg the captaincy. Hogg/ russell haven’t done anything wrong, but they are not what this team needs to get over this final, tough step.

    And Toony has had years to see this and do somethign about it and he simply hasn’t – I think that’s cos he himself is not a great leader – an outstanding coach, but not the person who you’d follow over a hill or who can inspire, and he fails to appreciate what kind of leader the team needs on the pitch as a result.

    Love Russell, but alleviate him of the captaincy. Find someone else – it may be Darge, I thought it would be Ritchie. I get there are other dynamics, but that’s the issue I see – consistently and over a number of years.

    I think yes we blame the TMO etc for yesterday – but we also need to take good, long, hard look at why on earth we hadn’t also put that game to bed – control the controllables etc. Should be basic stuff.

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    • Absolutely agree on your points about Townsend and I remenber him being more than a bit flaky. Agree on your points about the lack of dog and on field leadership which to me should always be a forward as games are won up front.

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      • Doesn’t it seem a bit unfair to blame Townsend for not finding the right captain, and then going on to say that Ritchie and Darge would have been your picks as well?

  4. I see from this thread that there is still a lot of carping,gnashing of teeth and wailing because the match official gave his decision. What a sorry sound it is and who benefits yet again Mr Townsend, once again he got the calls wrong,chaps sitting on the bench,failed kicks all from this thread. Everyone to blame except the real culprit. How times have changed from the match officials word was law right or wrong. I leave you now to give your opinions

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    • Spot on Richard the refs on field decisions were the law and totally respected by all but this is now a multi million pound global industry. The traditional game that I played died with professionalism and the desperate need to make the game more entertaining. Rule changes, TMOs etc but it really is just all about commercialism to ensure that the funds are there to pay for all the infrastructure that is now in place. Townsend has to go but yet again all the focus is on the ref not on our head coach who appears to be clueless on how to influence his team on the park.

      Every other team embraces the 23 man squad and plan their use of substitutions to have a maximum impact such as SA bomb squad. GT maybe a good coach but it is obvious that he has no man or game management skills (same as when he played) and how do the subs feel training hard and then being left on the bench or only getting a few minutes. He has to go.

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    • the opinion is as my other response, the game is professional and as such we should expect professional competence from officials and intelligent input from World Rugby with consideration of unintended consequences when they change the Laws or offer up unrealistic protocol.

  5. Jist to throw another query into the “why do ref’s sometimes appear one-eyed” debate. Watching the Ireland v Italy game. Ringrose I think was tackled 3 yards out and a second later is diving over the line, try awarded, mass celebrations. I’m thinking hang on what happened there, but the ref who was well positioned seemed to have no doubts until in that instamce TMO intervenes as kick about to be taken. Ref saying he needed to see clear evidence he was held. Duly provided, try knocked off. It can’t be home crowd necause we didn’t get it uesterday but there does seem to be something that happens where refs get caught up in the game and lose their perspective. On yesterday’s fiasco whether it was/wasn’t a try World Rugby needd to do something about management of TMO process, 70,000 people waiting 5 minutes to find out who has won a match suggests in current form the system doesn’t work. I din’t really understand this form of words thing in ref/TMO exchanges which caused ir exacerbated the pronlem, would not ne better if the ref just said – I’m not sure can we have a look at thst please? I may be missing something but can’t see the benefit/justification of preframing an outcome when you are admitting to be unclear.

  6. If nothing else, yesterdays “no try” for Scotland should warrant a serious review of the role of TMO in situations like these.

    IMHO there should be at least 2 TMO referees assisting, as it is now clear to me that yesterday’s TMO referee was at fault for changing his decision which initially was correct- 100% a definite try.

    Given the clear video evidence in favour of a try, it was also clear that Nic Berry was unsighted so he should have not given a “no try” onfield decision, therefore the onus for the decision should have been taken by TMO.

    Having said that Nic Berry also saw the same clear video in favour of a try, so both Nic & the TMO totally bottled it.

    Even the French commentary team conceded it was a try & were wholeheartedly embarrased when the final “no try” decision was made !!

    Obviously too late to do anything about it now but a clear case for having 2 TMO referees, not one !!

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    • How about no TMOs? Rugby survived well enough without them with players accepting the human element of refereeing as part of the spirit of the game. Management of the match officials was limited to knowing the referee’s quirks and operating within his interpretation of the laws. The laws have been allowed to become a mess and our game is at risk of becoming a laughing stock if Saturday’s tactical kick fest isn’t stamped on. Following the banning of the direct kick to touch after the debacle of a a Wales v Scotland match when decisive action was taken the sport took a quantum leap forward in terms of attacking play rather than focus on the set piece. Give total authority on onfield decisions back to the referee, and get back to punishing of players seeking to undermine that authority. That will go some way to speeding up play to the benefit of players and spectators.

      • Totally agree about what you say as we had to as you say “knowing the referee’s quirks and operating within his interpretation of the laws” and now you can add hers as some of the best up and coming refs are female.

  7. More conspiracy theories than the average Trump speech.

    In the “good old days” without a TMO the referee would have given a try on the grounds of probability, Scotland would have won and everyone would have accepted it. Nowadays we have a TMO with games being continually disrupted for forensic examinations of every debatable incident. Therefore when we get situations like yesterday the referee isn’t sure so he refers it to the TMO who simply can’t be 100% sure the ball was properly grounded so quite rightly the try isn’t given.

    So don’t blame the ref or the TMO blame those who introduced the system and decided how it is to be used.

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    • I take your point Can but it still comes down to the judgement of the ref and TMO. Based on what we saw the ref could have awarded the try and asked the TMO to verify in which case it would have been a try. He could have asked the TMO “try or no try” then the TMO would still have to make a judgement based on what he could see from the TV footage. I think they made the wrong judgement based on the evidence. I’m not sure what 100% v’s 95% sure looks like – either its grounded or its not grounded.

      • The ref clearly didn’t see a grounding which is why he referred it to the TMO saying the on field decision was no try. Nigel Owens said it was probably a try but it wasn’t definitely a try and so the TMO gave the only decision he could.

        Personally I’ll take Nigel Owens opinion over any posted here with all due respect to you Ross but little respect to the ludicrous conspiracy theorists and the abusers.

  8. There is a natural urge amongst our own to present as magnanimous and make the point that we should have finished the game earlier. But there is too much of this going on for my liking. We can accept that we didn’t capitalise while also criticising the officials.

    You’d think only Scotland get locked in tight games that they should have built a lead in but didn’t. This happens all the time with every team. We pander to this point of view so as not to offend conventional wisdom that we are plucky losers. Townsend, and Russell for that matter, were far too placid with their comments. Townsend in particular comes across as weak and ineffective compared to his coaching peers. Borthwick left the coaching box yesterday to complain about the conversion charge down, which was small fries compared to Berry & McNeice’s performance. It was obvious that somebody in the background had a word in the TMOs ear when they realised the try was going to be given. The blow back from Paris outweighed whatever the SRU could muster because they know we never stamp our feet like others.

    Look at the others. Sexton was emboldened to the extent that he walked on to the pitch with his child to engage in prolonged verbal abuse and intimidation of officials. POM, Biggar, Farrell & Jamie George are/were frequently sarcastic and glib towards referees. Yet when Berry was seen changing his mind live on TV neither of our co-captains were on his shoulder. They just stood there and took it. Could you imagine any of those other guys just standing there chewing the fat with opposition players and their coach doing nothing.

    We need to properly stand up for ourselves.

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    • Franck you obviously never played as the referee is “god” on a rugby pitch a bit like a captain of a ship. In rugby we do not challenge the referee.

      • As you say Alan the ref was “god” I witness and played in matches where 6ft 6 , 20 stone forwards would stand in front of him like small frightened schoolboys but everyone knew where they stood and oddly enough felt safe in the knowledge that he was officiating on everyones behalf and keeping all safe.

      • There is video and audio evidence aplenty to contradict this. Watch any game Owen Farrell plays in.

        The Corinthian platitudes sound good but don’t reflect what happens on the pitch in the pro game now.

  9. Back from the match and with the benefit of time for reflection, there remain issues as to Leadership. What other team would have 2 cocktails ad well as a vice captain? Sends mixed messages as to the identity and direction of the team on the field. Russell for all his abilities as as a fine tactical decision maker has too much on his plate to be the leader and strategic decision maker. Gilchrist had a fine game but is not the future. Dare has clearly been identified as having leadership qualities so despite his age and relative inexperience make him the Captain accepting that he will mistakes but has the respect of the squad and will grow into the role . There will then be someone to make the hard decisions on the field of play and allow this team to develop and accept that ultimately they are responsible for what happens on the field and not hide behind the coaching team, officials or weather conditions.

  10. Let’s be honest…we should have won this before the Ref/TMO debacle took place.
    However, it seems clear to me that both officials basically chickened out of making the decision and hid behind the convoluted World Rugby semantics relating to whether or not a try was scored.
    The galling aspect of the whole thing for me was the flip-flopping of the TMO. I managed to read The Lord of the Rings whilst he made up/didn’t make up his mind.
    I don’t buy into the corrupt officials conspiracy stuff and I’m pretty sure that there was no brown paper envelope stuffed with Euros and tickets to the Olympics waiting for them. I do,however, buy into the ineptitude theory.
    I would love to see World Rugby initiate post match interviews with the ref and TMO’s… I’d pay good money to watch them.
    Anyway,I still think we should have won well before the “incident”… hopefully a lesson learnt…onwards and upwards!

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  11. The problem starts when Berry says ‘on field decision is no try’ as that means the TMO as I understand it can’t over rule the on field decision as long as their is conjecture and although it is obvious the ball ‘has to be’ on the ground it isn’t ‘seen to be ‘on the ground’. But initially when both agree the ball moves off the foot and by any criteria is on the ground makes this worse because both Ref and TMO confuse the situation the Ref changes his mind to say it is grounded as does the TMO who then becomes a Pedant regarding the visual aspect that you don’t see the base of the ball touching the Grass.
    Did someone alongside the TMO say ‘but you can’t see it on the ground even though beyond doubt it has to be so you have to stick with the on field decision of the Ref.
    Berry’s other failure was allowing the French Scrum Half to get away with his antics stopping White getting the ball out of one of the scrums, how can you allow Luco to scramble all over the back of White without penalty,

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  12. Scot Abroad says:

    10 FEBRUARY 2024 AT 10:23 PM

    I wont comment on the “try” as Scot Abroad’s comment above absolutely nails it.
    It’s funny we won last week when it felt like we lost, this week the opposite.
    We should have kicked the points late in the 1st half and we seemed to kick long more often than not (which was strange but if the try had been awarded we would’ve won)
    Could’ve should’ve would’ve..
    Patterson can be proud, Darge, Gilchrist, VDM all played very well

  13. No problem with on field ref going upstairs if he was unsighted. But if we must have TMO’s making so many match deciding decisions, then the very least we should expect is that they get those decisions right. I watched that with 4 mates. One Irish, one Welsh and 2 English. They were all congratulating me on a Scottish win until the TMO suddenly and without explanation changed his mind. They were as outraged as I was simply from a rugby point of view. Absolutely atrocious decision up there with Joubert in RWC quarter final all those years ago. Or should I say down there. Is there something else in play here? An agenda? So that the “big” sides, France, England and Ireland are all in the frame for the Championship on the last day?

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  14. Well, Mr Townsend, let me tell you what I don’t understand the rationale of.

    3 substitutes never left the bench at all. Another 3 played 20 minutes between them. Whereas France, hardly the unfittest of teams, used their entire bench with the last substitute on getting 20 minutes. I hate to think what kind of energy and clarity of thought advantage that gave them.

    The game has moved on from having ‘replacements’. I wish it wasn’t so but all our opponents plan to use all their substitutes and we are just handing them a huge advantage in physical and mental sharpness. It is nothing short of a miracle that we managed to claw our way back to the French goal line at the end.

    I can just about accept having Healy on the bench as emergency cover and not using him if not required but you have to use your bench against other Tier 1 teams.

    There are a number of reasons why Scotland did not win that game today, so let’s hope that awful decision at the end does not allow the many costly things in our own control to be swept under the carpet and not addressed.

    And, please, can we get Richie Gray involved with coaching the forwards as a matter of urgency. We are absolutely terrible at scoring from close range and it is killing us.

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    • I am not sure Richie will help that area of our play. The truth is if the referee thinks it is no try then why is he looking to the TMO.. the only question from a referee should be “onflield” try and is there any reason why I can’t give a try. Poor process by the referee.

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    • I have to say that the players that were on the field at the end scored what should have been a winning try, therefor from that respect the judgements from the coaching bench were arguably correct. Another aspect is how many times have changes been made to players that fail to bring any benefit. If those on the field are holding their own don’t disrupt the continuity, as ever, other views are available.

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  15. Why did Nic Berry want Scotland to lose, what was his motivation? Even the TMO saw the ball grounded like everybody else on the planet. Puzzling and very, very annoying.

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    • What was the motivation in RWC against Ireland for ref n tmo to lie about Irish player carrying ball into touch….what was motivation for Ford not being penalised for tackling Welsh player in air today? Corrupt referees are now standard in pro rugby. IRB is a cartel that won’t accept higher ranked team losing no matter what.

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      • You are not a Rugby Fan more of a tinfoil hat investor with chat like this. Berry and TMO git this wrong. Very evidently. Lacking independent thought or EQ perhaps but biased and corrupt? No chance

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    • Irish TMO. Perhaps he didn’t want another team to remain with a shout towards a grand slam?

      Also, why was there a ref from Georgia in a tier 2 nation when I have literally never seen a Scottish ref at this level. Each team in 6 nations should also be required to provide a high level ref.

      As for Nic Berry you can tell he loves the power. Not his only controversial moment of his career. Ben O’Keefe is another.

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      • I get that the 6 Nations attract casual fans but that ref from Georgia is one of the world’s best. Outside Hollie Davidson Scottish refs are no where near this level

    • the problem was the TMO, not Berry. If Berry is unsighted but thinks its held up, so be it. Berry then referred it to TMO for check. All that is just fine and correct.
      TMO then said he had the ball on the ground, Berry then says he will change his on filed decision, again all fine and correct. But TMO then decided to see if he can find another angle showing ball grounded and failed so changed his mind, I’ve no idea why he wanted another angle, one would do!

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      • Yes I have played a lot of sport which is why I know it is childish drivel to accuse the match officials of being corrupt. Maybe it is you who haven’t played any sport. Or maybe you too are six years old.

  16. Couple of points about Berry’s/TMO’s terrible decision. If Berry had asked TMO “try, yes or no”, would the TMO have the same video shots to be sufficient to award a Scottish try? It seems ridiculous that the wording from the ref makes the decision more difficult for the TMO. Together they should just look at the evidence and agree the outcome. Clearly the initial call of held-up by Berry was wrong so just look at the pictures and decide.
    Also, if there needs to be conclusive evidence to overturn the ref’s initial decision, to me that doesn’t mean that there has to be an uninterrupted view of the ball on the grass. The ball is placed on a yellow boot and is then clearly rolled back onto what must have been the grass unless there’s some weird 6 inch hole in the exact same spot in the Murrayfield turf. Looking at the curvature of the ball and extrapolating the level plane of the pitch, the ball simply has to be on the ground, no chance of there being a hand or anything else underneath. Yes, we should have done better earlier in the game and maybe we should have gone wide rather than just bludgeoning over the line, but the fact is, we ended up needing a try at the death and that’s what we managed to do, unless you’re name’s Nic Berry.

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  17. Btw similar in the Wales England game at the end….Ford takes player out in air after blatantly looking to see where he was….should b open n yellow but nothing given. Referring in rugby union is a disgrace. RWC and 6n are basically engaging in match fixing. Would love a clear reason for officials for changing minds from ‘ball is grounded you may award try’. Definitely hints of external pressure being applied.

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      • Being ‘first’ doesn’t matter if u don’t compete for ball….it’s clear pen yellow card…he looked at Welsh lad in air n took him up whilst he was in air and vulnerable.

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      • I remember Fin Russell being red carded for doing precisely that to Dan Biggar a couple of years ago. Again where’s the consistency.

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    • I couldn’t believe that decision either, Ford doesn’t compete for the ball and deliberately gets under the player to take him out while in the air. A much easier decision than denying Scotland a try as the camera angles showed the foul so clearly. It’s a tough gig being a ref or touch judge and some calls are marginal but two absolute howlers today.

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    • Remember James Lowe’s foot in touch last year but try was still given.

      Can’t defend such blatant incorrect refereeing.

      Relying on the whole – yeah but remember when (insert something that happened to the opposite team) sonits all fair.

      No. No it’s not fair. Two wrongs don’t make a right. I’d want my country pinged correctly for any wrong doing. Should we have two refs on the pitch from now on?

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  18. Yeah, when you see the shot of the ball below the level of the grass, it’s just not a credible decision.

    Esp when the official says award the try then changes his mind. Should be sacked

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    • Specsavers themselves commented on the Scottish Rugby X page they are on their way to Murrayfield to assist the referee…

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    • I couldn’t believe that decision either, Ford doesn’t compete for the ball and deliberately gets under the player to take him out while in the air. A much easier decision than denying Scotland a try as the camera angles showed the foul so clearly. It’s a tough gig being a ref or touch judge and some calls are marginal but two absolute howlers today don’t help their cause.

  19. Clear to everyone on the planet it was grounded, but I guess the current law says they have to be 100% clear. Seems reasonable any other day but this one.

    But if they cannot decide, why not give a 5m scrum to the attacking team- we were robbed of this victory basically but don’t feel the ref is much at fault here, TMO bottled his decision so fell back to the refs.

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    • it only has to be clear on one angle, which McNeice said it was. It does not need to be clear from every angle, which is where McNeice took us

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  20. With all due respect to Toony, I did not see any “rationale” at all in the TMO process to review the on field decision. Skinner was clearly driven over the line. Nic Berry could not see the ball grounded and cannot be criticized because there was a pile of bodies lying over the ball. However, it’s clear from one of the TV replay angles during the TMO review that the ball was initially planted on a French tackler’s foot and then slid back off the foot on to the ground. The TMO said the ball was grounded as confirmed by that TV angle. And then the TMO remarkably asked to look at one other angle and after several minutes subsequently changed his mind and said it was not conclusive. I was watching the game on French TV with French commentary and when the commentators saw the TV angle with the ball grounded they said is a try. When Nic Berry finally called it held up the commentators were somewhat embarrassed. No wonder young Scots don’t play rugby! Paddy Power has issued a statement tonight that anyone who placed a bet on Scotland winning the game would have their bet refunded.

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    • I don’t agree that Berry couldn’t see the grounding. The TV angle which best showed the ball on the ground also showed that Berry had an unobstructed view of the ball and should absolutely have seen that a try was scored. All the later nonsense was caused by him getting it wrong.

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      • Perhaps … only he knows. But it’s a big decision to make in the last seconds of the game and the easy way out is to not award a try and review it upstairs with the TMO. Also, Berry is not quite at the same angle as the camera and also has to make a split second decision in real time based on what he can see whereas the TV replays (which went on for 4 minutes) are all in slow motion. The problem for me was the TMO review – as TMO you cannot say on live TV that the ball is grounded when reviewing one angle (from which we could all see that the ball was down and no hand underneath it) and then ask to see another angle and change your mind. RTE pundits (Jamie Heaslip and Stephen Ferris) who commented on the game for Irish TV both said it was a try and were critical of the decision not to award it. And Sam Warburton saying it was 95% a try but not 100% conclusive is just BS! If the ball is on the ground it’s 100% a try – the ball cannot levitate 5% in mid-air!!

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      • So you now claim to be able to see exactly what other people see do you? Do you not realise that referees have a lot more to watch than just the ball? Offsides etc.

  21. Scotland lost that match by not taking three points just before half time !! The French had the momentum from the on. The kicking in mid 2nd half was totally negative as well…..from both sides

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    • No they lost the game because the officials refused to grant a clear try…..no tactics can mitigate for the officials refusing to give legitimate scores.

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      • One of the best rugby union sides of all time the Dan Carter/Richie McCaw era all blacks would have kicked it.

    • They made the right call to go for the try. A try would have shifted the momentum away from the French and penalty would have made no material difference to the game in the 2nd half.

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      • Agree had to go at it was the right call and even more so when we did actually score enough tries to win. Can’t legislate for officials refusing to award said tries….that’s beyond the control of any player captain or coach.

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      • Statistically you are right. Realistically you are incorrect as we have repeatedly failed over the years to capitalise from those opportunities close to the line. We huff and puff but invariably fail to score. This has been an achilles heel for years and has never been adequately addressed.

      • Nonsense plenty have in past n plenty will in future…..Irish sides in particular will take scrums in central positions with opposition down to 14…..I disagree with Milne on tons of issues but he’s 109% correct on this one.

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