In a gripping Six Nations showdown at Murrayfield, France secured a tense victory over Scotland, leaving referee Wayne Barnes to share his perspective on a controversial last-minute try review.
Despite replay footage hinting at the ball being grounded amid a tangle of bodies, referee Nic Berry’s no-try call stood, and TV images failed to definitively counter his decision.
Scotland, vying for a fifth consecutive home triumph, might feel they were unjustly denied a win, especially considering they could have been further ahead by halftime.
Wayne Barnes verdict:
Barnes wrote in his column for The Telegraph: “As Sam Skinner picks up the ball and lunges for the line, the referee Berry is in a fantastic position, closer than any TV camera in the stadium.
“He proclaims ‘Held up, held up’, but rather than immediately blowing for full-time – and perhaps in an attempt to prevent coaches and commentators querying ‘If you’ve got the technology there, why don’t you use it?’ – Nic refers the matter to the TMO.
“BBC TV commentator Andrew Cotter immediately sums up the decision that the match officials will have to come to if they are to award a try, he explains that they will need “conclusive proof” that the ball was grounded.
“Extremely tight” says the TMO on first viewing and it clearly is. It is why he takes his time to work through all the angles that are provided by the broadcaster.
“There will be some who will highlight that while the TMO was working through this difficult decision he said “there is the ball on the ground”. But, after reviewing it further, he explains that he needs “definitive evidence of the ball on the ground” to award the try. His conclusion that he “cannot say for certain” that is the case means the match officials stick with Nic’s initial decision, who was the person closest to the action after all.
“This incident shows the difficulty of officiating and that sometimes one country will applaud a decision while another will vilify it.”
Nigel Owens verdict:
Speaking to the BBC after the game, Owens said: “When the referee gives the on-field decision there had to be clear evidence to overturn that decision.
“Now, it’s. a very difficult decision to make. It all came down to if the TMO believes he has clear evidence.
“I looks like it’s probably on the ground. Was it enough for him to say it’s 100% on the ground. I guess not.
“I’m glad I’m sat here and not on the field.”
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“0/10” – Five players who flopped in the 2024 Six Nations today
Below, we look at five players who across the day who failed to perform for their respected nation.
FIVE PLAYERS WHO FLOPPED:
#1. Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland)
Rugby Dump 4/10: “Pretty anonymous throughout as he rarely got his hands on the ball. He did save a certain French try albeit in controversial circumstances as he appeared to go high but got away with it.”
Planet Rugby 5/10: “Like Rowe. the behemoth flyer did not see much of the ball but when he did, he kept France‘s defence busy. He eventually gained 18 attacking metres from five runs and was pretty anonymous on defence as he only made three tackles but missed two of those.”
Rugby 365 5.5/10: “Came off his left wing to make the extra man in the attack that led to White’s try, but didn’t have the ball in his hands enough from a Scottish point of view. Well shackled by the French defence, and made one excellent cover tackle to collar Fickou after the centre’s coruscating break.”