Warren Gatland fumed with what he deemed a “clear try” scored by Gareth Anscombe after Wales succumbed to a 12-6 defeat by England, which leaves the reigning champions on course for the Six Nations Grand Slam after back-to-back wins.
What could have been a potential turning point failed to materialise in the 24th minute at Twickenham when England were already 12-0 ahead after two Jonny May tries. Both Anthony Watson and Anscombe dived for a loose ball in England’s try area that came from a deflected Rhys Patchell kick, and referee Jerome Garces referred the decision to television match official [TMO] Glenn Newman, who deemed that Anscombe had not grounded the ball.
Initially it looked as though Watson got to the ball first, only for replays to show that Anscombe’s hand reached through the England wing’s grasp to touch the ball. Newman, however, decided that Ansocmbe had not controlled the ball to ground it, much to the disagreement of Gatland.
“I still can't understand why the TMO didn't give the try to Anscombe,” Gatland said afterwards. “The wording was the grounding wasn’t clear, but we've had a look at it from a few different angles and you can clearly see he has his hand on the ball.
“That’s a big moment in the game, especially to get it wrong in front of 82,000. We'll seek clarification on that.”
Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones added: “Hindsight never won or lost a game, so we can't dwell on it.
“We were slow out the blocks, but after that first 20 minutes we got a foothold in the game. We felt we should have got more out of the opportunities we had in the second half.”
England head coach Eddie Jones was in no doubt about the decision, which helped seal a 24th win in 25 matches, and keeps them on track to win a second Grand Slam in three years after their win over Italy last weekend.
“I don't know why people say we're lucky with the refereeing decision. The TMO has all the time in the world to make his decision,” Jones said
“I never get involved in what is decided."
Instead, Jones was more impressed with how his side ground out the victory, although it was very much a defensive performance to be proud of as they went more than 60 minutes without scoring a point in a gruelling affair heavily affected by constant rain falling throughout the day.
“It was a good old-fashioned arm wrestle, but we're getting good at winning those,” the Australian added. “It's great to see that when we're not quite at our best, we are getting the results.
“I never thought it would be a routine win. Wales are tough, well-coached and a good side. It would have been nice to score more points, but you have to give full credit to their defence.
“We got inside their 22 a number of times, but couldn't unlock them. We still played better rugby during the game and took our opportunities."
The result leaves only England and Ireland able to win the Grand Slam, with the two sides due to meet on the final weekend of the championship, and the Irish lead the Six Nations table by the slimmest of margins, with the two sides locked on nine points each and just two points difference after two rounds.
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