The Wales 40-24 England Farce

February 28, 2021

Remove This Referee From Internationals

At least he gave England players time to get on the pitch before the kick off!

French referee Pascal Gauzere set out his stall early in the game when he was whistle happy from the get go. Supporters and viewers want to see talent on the pitch running and kicking the ball, not the centre of attention being the guy with the whistle.

The stadium lacking the vocals of the singing fans meant that this game was probably going to be quite subdued off the pitch, but the fixture for the players was ever important with Wales going for the Triple Crown.

Wales scored four tries against England for the first time in 23 years and ran out deserved winners after two highly contentious decisions set them on their way to victory over England

First Half

Early penalties awarded against England kind of set the tone for this game, with Wales slotting one over for an early lead. Itoje’s pressuring the scrum half box kicking attempt almost paid off with an England try when he charged down a Hardy kick. Fullback Williams won the leg race by inches to keep him out from scoring what would have been a kickable try.
Farrell put the game back on par with a well taken kick and at 3-3 it was time to go again. It took just 15 minutes into the game for the first controversy to hit home.

England captain Farrell was penalised for failing to roll away from his own tackle on George North. Personally not sure how much rolling away you can do with 2 opponents on top of you, but that’s nothing compared to the farce that followed.

Step up Pascal Gauzere, into the spotlight once again.  Gauzere told Farrell to tell his team to “change their behaviour” and said “time off” indicating that the clock was stopped. Accordingly, Farrell did just that, calling in the wingers from the wings and the backs. On came the water carries to enable the England team in their huddle to get water taken on. They’re still being briefed by Farrell and breaking up the huddle as they hear the whistle blow, despite the water carriers still on the field in the huddled group. Biggar kicked out wide and  Josh Adams catches the ball to go over for a try.

England captain Farrell argued vehemently there were water carriers on the field and his side had no chance to reset after being asked to speak to his team about their discipline. The referee had zero interest in listening to his complaints and brushed him aside like he didn’t exist. Try stood and was converted. A second Farrell penalty brought England back into the game.


What Next?

Well, you may well ask. Almost another 15 minutes passes then we see Wales wing Louis Rees-Zammit attempting to take a chipped kick from Adams, but he knocks it forward with his hand, but it comes off his own leg. It then hits Slades leg, all without touching the ground and Liam Williams is there to touch down for a try to make the scoreline Wales 17 England 6.

Could this be a new sport? Keepy Uppy with the rugby ball? Just a thought.


Knock On Or Not?

From where I was sitting in front of the tv, it looked like he’d lost possession of the ball.

Former England and British and Irish Lions captain Martin Johnson; “I would have thought he’s lost control of the ball. Everyone who has ever played rugby will think that’s a knock-on.”

For the record, World Rugby’s laws state: “A knock-on occurs when a player loses possession of the ball and it goes forward, or when a player hits the ball forward with hand or arm, or when the ball hits the hand or arm and goes forward, and the ball touches the ground or another player before the original player can catch it.”


Wales went back to the changing rooms enjoying a fortunate 17-14 half-time lead!


Second Half

Hardy took advantage of a correctly awarded penalty against England lock Hill and his tap and go try was converted by Sheedy. England never gave up and tries by Anthony Watson and Ben Youngs, saw the hour mark scoreline 24-24. As good as they are in going forward, England need to sort out their discipline.
Wales replacement fly-half Callum Sheedy kicked three penalties, before Cory Hill’s last-minute try sealed a commanding bonus-point win. The scoreline was flattering, but Wales were worthy victors.


My Final Thoughts

Rees-Zammit the Welsh winger is fast. he was unlucky not to score a try and had the pass gone to him instead of the kick and chase, maybe he would have just managed to get over the line.

Wayne Pivac said the referee was lenient on England in some aspects with star second row Maro Itoje giving away five penalties in total, without being shown a yellow card. Utter bullshit! At least one of these calls was borderline and a second it wasn’t even Itoje who was offside.

The prematch commentary did a focus piece on Alun Wyn Jones and how he has that old head on him to wind up opposing players who he knows will bite. His display against Sinckler in the last game was a wonderful assessment of how this captain looks to try to gain the upper hand.

Nigel Owens, MBE who was interviewed earlier about his experiences in the game and him coming out as a homosexual was a really nice and entertaining pice too. Based on the performance shown today, I’d have happily as an Englishman had him in charge of the match.

Not only have Wales produced some world class players over the years and will continue to do so, but they have also enhanced the world stage with top, top referees. Clive Norling, Derek Bevan and also Nigel Owens.

Yes, I admit that referees do make mistakes, but as glaring as this one was today, French referee Pascal Gauzere should not be on the International Panel. That being the case too, while ever England are giving away so many penalties, then you will get referees who will keep an eye on them ready for the next one to come around.


Some more reports from the big boys available here;

The Guardian.

The Telegraph

Sydney Morning Herald



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