World Rugby not planning to explain controversial try decision in Scotland match

By Sports Desk February 14, 2024

World Rugby has no plans to issue any public explanation regarding the controversial decision not to award Scotland what would have been a match-winning try in last Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations defeat by France at Murrayfield, the PA news agency understands.

The Scots – trailing 20-16 – thought they had secured victory when replacement lock Sam Skinner pushed through and appeared to ground the ball on the line under a ruck of bodies as the clock ticked past the 80-minute mark.

Referee Nic Berry’s on-field decision was “no try”, and after several minutes of high drama while footage was reviewed from various angles, TMO Brian MacNeice, having initially suggested he could see the ball on the ground, advised that there was “no conclusive evidence” to change the original call, much to the hosts’ dismay.

“I just don’t understand how the referee didn’t see it,” former Scotland international Craig Chalmers told PA on Monday. “He should have got in closer to it and put his hands in and had a better look.”

Head coach Gregor Townsend was similarly bewildered by the process that led to the try not being awarded. “I don’t understand the rationale,” he said in his post-match media briefing on Saturday.

“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 tryline.”

When asked last weekend if Scotland would be seeking further explanation from World Rugby, Townsend said: “It doesn’t really matter.

“We’ll get feedback, we do regularly, and that’ll be one of some incidents we’ll ask for clarification on, but it doesn’t change the outcome, unfortunately.”

Townsend regularly liaises with World Rugby regarding issues arising from matches and he wrote to the governing body after the France game, as he had done the previous week when seeking clarification over the number of penalties that went against his side in their victory away to Wales.

The head coach spoke with referee Berry after the France match and communication lines remain open between Scottish Rugby and the sport’s governing body, but Scotland are not demanding or expecting an apology or an admission that a mistake was made regarding Skinner’s disallowed try.

Despite the ferocity of the backlash, World Rugby will be sticking to their stance of not commenting publicly on specific officials’ decisions and are not expected to issue any clarification to clear the situation up in the public domain.

Although there remains a deep sense of injustice among Scotland’s players, coaches and supporters, the furore surrounding Saturday’s pivotal last-gasp flashpoint appears to be subsiding.

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