Sunday, March 13, 2011
Touch judge Peter Allan kept alive Wales slim hopes of lifting the Six Nations trophy by allowing Mike Phillips to charge in for a match winning score against Ireland this weekend at the Millennium Stadium.
It was a controversial moment that had the crowd searching for their rule books, as Welsh hooker Matthew Rees threw a quick lineout to Phillips from the touchline, allowing the scrum-half to power over for a converted score and the lead.
However, it was a different ball to the one which had been kicked out previously, and although referee Jonathan Kaplan requested confirmation about this - Allan said it was the same ball.
Unfortunately for Ireland the television replays conclusively illustrated that Allan was wrong. This mistake has further pushed the claim for televisions decisions to be referred to more often and in greater depth.
Yet Ireland cannot blame the officials for letting this game slip through their fingers, especially considering Paddy Wallace decided not to finish what seemed to be an easy run in with the dying phases of the game.
When Brian ODriscoll crossed for his 24th tournament try two minutes into the game, Wales looked to be in for a rough ride. Yet Ireland did not look like scoring after this, and repeated offences allowed for Welsh fly-half James Hook to kick his side back into the game.
The win gives Wales, who are now level on points with England, small hope of winning the Six Nations; and with Ireland basically out of contention, it will be the try that should never have been awarded that will leave the Emerald Isle seething.
Irish captain Brian O'Driscoll has slammed the match officials. "I didn't see it myself but when half your team are saying it, you take their word for it," he said. "I tried to relate that to Jonathan Kaplan and the touch judge and they were having none of it and it's really frustrating for such an incident to have a huge bearing on the game.
"Games hang in the balance on decisions, everyone is human and wrong calls are made sometimes, but some are unforgivable."
Meanwhile a satisfied Warren Gatland believed the decision wasnt a problem:
"I can understand Ireland being frustrated with the try that was allowed but it's a decision that's gone our way, we've had some against us in the past, so I'm not complaining about it."
Below is the try in question, as well as some discussion post match regarding the extended use of the Television Match Official. It's unfortunate that the laws don't allow it currently, as this incident shows that it's not possible for officials to always be completely on top of things.
Mike Phillips vs Fabio Semenzato - The battle of the number nines
Blues score a try from a quick lineout (2007)
Thanks to the BBC