Six Nations Championship

You had one job: Warren Gatland rues ‘terrible mistake’ from officials as Wales go down to England

The New Zealander dwells on what might have been as Gareth Anscombe is denied a crucial try in Six Nations clash at Twickenham

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 February, 2018, 2:06pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 February, 2018, 2:06pm

Wales coach Warren Gatland was left bemoaning a “terrible” replay ruling following a 12-6 defeat by England in the Six Nations at Twickenham.

With England leading 12-0, it appeared Wales full back Gareth Anscombe, under pressure from home wing Anthony Watson, had touched down for a 24th-minute try, however experienced television match official Glenn Newman ruled Anscombe had not grounded the ball.

French referee Jerome Garces awarded Wales a penalty, which Rhys Patchell kicked, for an infringement in the build-up. But that still left England two scores in front at 12-3.

England, who saw wing Jonny May twice cross early on for his first tries in the Six Nations, held on, with an Anscombe penalty three minutes from time too late to turn the tide in Wales’ favour.

“I cannot understand why the television match official did not award Gareth Anscombe the try,” said Gatland of a decision made by Newman, his fellow New Zealander.

“You could see on the replay that he got there first, put his hand on the ball and grounded it. It was a big moment in the game and he [Newman] got the decision wrong. It looked like a fair try to me.

“It is disappointing to get such a big decision wrong. The TMO had one big call to make and he made a terrible mistake.

“I cannot do much about it now. I just struggled with the wording. He said England got there first and there was no downward pressure from Wales.

“Gareth got there first. Guys have got to get those decisions right. People make mistakes but it looked clear-cut to me.”

Meanwhile, May was delighted that England were “finding ways to win” after he ended his wait for a Six Nations try with a double strike in his 12th championship appearance.

The 27-year-old Leicester flier was too quick for an out of position Wales defence as he raced onto an excellent cross-field grubber kick from centre Owen Farrell before sliding in on a wet pitch to give England a third-minute lead.

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May scored his second try in the 20th minute following a fine pass from lock Joe Launchbury to crown a 25-phase move as England laid siege to Wales’ line.

“We were relentless in punching holes in them and we did that all day here,” said May. “Winning is a habit and we are finding ways to win,” added May as champions England made it two victories out of two this Six Nations after overpowering Italy 46-15 on the opening weekend.

“Any try for your country is very special and it’s an awesome feeling to get two important ones in a game as tight as this.

“They were both totally different tries. Me and Owen were in sync for the first one. We saw there was space behind them and I was ready and waiting for him to kick it through. I just needed to win the race for the ball.

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“The second one was a brilliant effort from the whole team. It could have been anyone popping up to finish the move off.”

May, however, said both he and England had room for improvement: “We are pretty happy but we are never content. I want to be the fastest and score tries whenever I get the chance. I also have to work harder on my kick chase, defence and the rest of my game.”