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Townsend Frustrated As Late TMO Decision Denies Scotland Win

  • 3 min read

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend was left frustrated by a controversial Television Match Official call in their 20-16 Six Nations loss to France at Murrayfield on Saturday, after his side believed they had won the game with a try after the hooter.

Australian referee Nic Berry ruled Scotland had been held up over the tryline with the final play of the game, and Irish TMO Brian MacNeice said there was no conclusive evidence to overturn that decision.

Replays, however, appeared to show the ball grounded onto a French boot, before it slipped onto the turf.

“We were celebrating in the coaches box,” Townsend told BBC One. “We could hear the TMO’s conversation with the referee, saying, ‘the ball was on foot, then the ball was down’ and then he changes his mind and says ‘stick with the on-field decision’.

“I don’t know what you can say. We felt we won the game. We saw the ball on the tryline.”

Townsend echoed the view of his co-captain Finn Russell when he said Scotland should have wrapped up the win long before the final whistle, having led for 69 minutes and spurned numerous opportunities to increase their advantage.

“From a coaching perspective, you have got to win the game and not put it in the hands of TMOs and referees, and that is what we will work on,” Townsend said.

“We were in control of the game and in control most of the way in tough conditions. We had to play a different way and I’m really disappointed we didn’t win the game.”

Townsend felt his side were not unduly troubled by France for most of the match.

“The ball was wet, there were a few knock-ons out there that might not have been seen,” he said. “France decided to do this long kicking tactic which is a blight on the game, it wasn’t putting us under pressure.”

He also had praise for debutant Harry Paterson, who only found out four hours before the game he was playing after winger Kyle Steyn’s wife went into labour.

“Harry Paterson was great, one of the best debuts I’ve seen,” Townsend said. “To perform like that when you’ve got four hours preparations, maybe less, shows the quality of player he is. He was on it and it shows he’s a real talent.”

Scotland, who claimed a 27-26 victory over Wales in their competition opener, host England at Murrayfield on Feb. 24.

“England is our biggest game of the season,” Townsend said.