Ruck and Maul: Touch and go but referee insists that Cipriani's penalty missed

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The Independent Online

Danny Cipriani's return to the game for Wasps against Bath last Wednesday was not without incident. He scored 11 points before being replaced but he was under the impression it should have been 14. Awarded a penalty in the 29th minute, the kick at goal by Cipriani appeared to be good as both touch judges raised their flags and the stand-off trotted back, thinking he had landed a three-pointer. However, the referee, Sean Davey, overruled, deciding that the kick had gone wide. Shaun Edwards, the Wasps' coach, was angry and bemused. "I've seen cases where one touch judge has his flag up and the other down but I've never seen both of them being overruled," he said. Mr Davey, a teacher at Christ's Hospital School for disadvantaged pupils in Sussex, revealed all to Ruck and Maul. "There was a strong wind and the ball swung a good 10 yards. The bottom line is that it didn't go through the posts. It missed by at least a yard. I have the final call and I had no hesitation in disallowing it." There is a sting in the tale, for the consensus is that the posts at Adams Park – Wasps share with Wycombe Wanderers – are probably the shortest in the Premiership and goal kicks often soar above them, rather than between them, making the job of touch judges difficult, particularly under floodlights. "The posts are far too short for professional rugby," Davey observed. "At our school ground the posts are much taller."

Life's a beach as Jamaica ruled out

Half the world and its dog want to host the World Cup, either in 2015 or 2019, and the candidates include the four home countries as well as Australia, South Africa, Japan, Italy and, intriguingly, Russia. The only applicant not to continue with its bid is Jamaica, and this is a great shame. A match at Montego Bay would have had its obvious attractions and even the highly strung All Blacks would have found time to chill out in the Caribbean.

O'Sullivan Biarritz-bound?

Talking of chilling out, Eddie O'Sullivan, the former Ireland coach who had a wretched World Cup in France last year, has been spotted in Biarritz. The club are said to be searching for a new coach. O'Sullivan could do a darn sight worse. Biarritz is one of the most glamorous and attractive rugby locations on the planet.

Pins and needles for Wilko

As Danny was making his comeback, Jonny was heading for yet another spell of rehabilitation. It is more than flesh and blood can stand. After being cleared out of a ruck in the 25th minute of Newcastle's 39-23 defeat at Gloucester, only his fourth match since a shoulder operation, Wilkinson's woe was a dislocated left knee. This is his 16th significant injury since dropping the goal that won the 2003 World Cup. You begin to wonder if voodoo is at play here because it almost seems as if somebody is sticking pins in a Jonny doll. "He was playing fantastic rugby," Steve Bates, the Newcastle coach, said. "He has enormous strength of character and I'm sure he'll come back stronger." How many times have we heard that?

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