The Scotland coach, Gregor Townsend, expresses disappointment over the decision not to award a late try against France.
Gregor Townsend, along with other Scottish individuals, has expressed their dissatisfaction with the choice to not give Scotland a try that could have won them the game against France. In the final minutes of the match, Murrayfield witnessed multiple replays of Sam Skinner’s attempt to score while the referee, Nic Berry, consulted with the television match official.
“The decision they ultimately reached was obviously not the correct one,” stated the head coach of Scotland. “I believe the TMO had a greater influence on the referee. With the large screen in that corner, it should be the referee’s call. They spent a significant amount of time analyzing it, and it’s clear to everyone that the ball crossed the line. I don’t think I’m being partial; I believe this is evident to all.”
Was Scotland justified in being in that predicament initially? They had controlled the game, especially in the first half, where they scored a beautifully crafted try by Ben White, with a confident performance from debutant full-back, Harry Paterson. However, despite their dominance, they only had a three-point lead at halftime due to a response from Gaël Fickou and a missed opportunity to increase their lead before the break, when Uini Atonio received a yellow card.
France, who had difficulty establishing a flow, were given a more achievable goal. They successfully reached it with a remarkable solo effort by Louis Bielle-Biarrey in the final 10 minutes. A penalty kick by Thomas Ramos in the last five minutes put Scotland in a position where they needed a try to secure victory.
The referee believed that the ball was held up at the time, so he consulted the TMO for definite evidence to the contrary. Scotland’s experience in the following events was particularly excruciating, even for their usual standards.
In a brief five-minute inquiry, the ruling shifted from no score to score, and then back to no score. Video footage indicated that the ball may have been touched to the ground. Berry confirmed with TMO Brian MacNeice that he needed to revise his initial decision, but MacNeice had reservations and believed there was uncertainty. Ultimately, he determined that there was insufficient evidence of a touchdown.
If the referee had initially decided to give the try, the result would have been different. This is because there was no clear proof to reject either team’s claim. It is moments like these that can change the course of a season.
There was another issue surrounding the use of technology. During the Six Nations, George Turner was the first player to be removed due to a forceful impact that exceeded the limit measured by the mouthguards equipped with instruments that players are using in the championship. He was taken out for a head impact evaluation, but did not seem pleased.
Townsend stated that the tackle appeared to be typical. The player with the ball collided with George, who executed a strong tackle. However, George had to be substituted due to an alert from his mouthguard. It is important for us to be cautious when implementing technology that may have unintended consequences.
He repeated himself.