Scotland’s hopes were dashed in the final moments of a closely contested Six Nations clash at Murrayfield as an ambiguous last-gasp try review left them without a conclusive outcome.
Despite indications from replays that the ball might have been grounded amidst a chaotic heap of bodies, referee Nic Berry’s initial no-try call stood, and the TV footage failed to definitively prove otherwise.
In pursuit of a fifth consecutive home victory, Scotland may feel aggrieved by what they perceive as an unfair decision.
Nevertheless, their disappointment is compounded by the realisation that they could have been in a more advantageous position at halftime.
Expressing his opinion, Scotland captain Finn Russell asserted, “Personally, I believe it was a try, but it’s up to the referee.”
Ronan O’Gara was annoyed by the decision, writing: “Is there any other sport where the officials have such an impact ? Too many rules/ laws.. too complicated.”
His former Ireland teammate Brian O’Driscoll agreed with the decision, writing: “Incredibly tough call to make that. TMO right as no CERTAIN line of sight of ball touched down. Very likely it was.”
Squidgy Rugby wrote: “That’s about the toughest decision a TMO has ever been given. The ball is almost certainly down, but the various angles and question asked/on-field decision protocols makes it impossible to give. Cruel for whichever team is on the wrong side.”
One fan commented: “Wow. That probably should have been given. Scottish fans can feel filthy.”
A second said” Wow !! Terrible decision.”
Another commented: “How was that Not a Try”
A third added: “TMO has robbed our friends North of the Border. That was an awful decision. He talked himself out of it.”
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NIGEL OWENS DREAM XV:
Fullback: Israel Folau (Australia)
Owens said: “For me, it’s nip and tuck between Halfpenny and Folau, next to nothing to choose between them. Leigh is brilliant because under the high ball and with his kicking at goal under pressure. He may not always break the line when running but puts his body on the line in defence and is a top-notch match-winner.
“But I go for Folau – only just, I should stress – because of his ability to seemingly beat his man every time he gets the ball in his hand. He’s such an exciting player and like Leigh he is one of the best under the high ball.
“It’s a toss of a coin for me… and it’s come down in Folau’s favour.”
Winger: Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
Owens said: “How can you fail to be impressed when watching Hogg play. He’s so exciting as he burst into that line and, of course, was named Six Nations player of the tournament.
“I know he’s a full-back for Scotland, but he is so quick and direct he could easily play on the wing. He reminds me a bit of Shane Williams with some of the things he does.
“When you see who is on the other wing in my team, you’ll see how they would work brilliantly in tandem.”
Outside-centre: Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)
Owens said: “Not only is he one of the greatest centres in the history of rugby union but he’s a fantastic man off the field as well. O’Driscoll has been a wonderful ambassador for the sport and a real leader. He always respected referees and set the right example for others to follow.
“A legend of the game who conducted himself superbly, on and off the pitch.”
Inside-centre: Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand)
Owens said: “He’s another brilliant player and after every game, win or lose, he would come up and give me a hug. Ma’a has always found time at after-match functions or at breakfast if we’ve been staying at the same hotel to come over and have a chat.
“What a player, mind, too. One of the stalwarts of the New Zealand side for so many years.”
Winger: Shane Williams (Wales)
Owens said: “When people ask me who is the best player I have refereed it’s pretty much an impossible task to pick one because I’ve been lucky enough to take charge of so many greats.
“But if I’m pushed, I would pick Shane for what he achieved after coming from football at 17 or 18 years of age.
“He was in the mould of Gerald Davies in how he left defenders gasping for air as he beat them with those dazzling sidesteps. Nobody would fancy defending against a back three of Shane, Hogg and Folau, I can tell you that.”