England await fate on Wilkinson ball change
September 26, 2011
Jonny Wilkinson was unhappy with the balls against Romania © Getty Images
England are set to discover on Tuesday whether they will face any sanction for Jonny Wilkinson's attempts to change balls during Saturday's World Cup win against Romania.
Law 9.8.1 states the kicker must convert tries with the same ball that was touched down, unless it is defective - but Wilkinson twice sought to switch it. A World Cup spokesman said after the game that England were warned to "desist" at half-time and did so.
England manager Martin Johnson explained Wilkinson thought "one of the balls was slightly less than perfect so he wanted to swap it" and he said it was "not an unusual occurrence". The incident is understood to have been noted in the match commissioner's report and is now being looked into by tournament officials.
England could be fined if they are deemed to have breached either the World Cup participation agreement or the laws of the game. But if the match officials are deemed to have dealt with the issue correctly at the time there is unlikely to be any action against England.
"We will review the operations aspect of the match and wait for the reports to come before making a decision, we are reviewing it," said an International Rugby Board spokesman.
England have already received one warning from World Cup officials after the numbers on the back of their shirts peeled off during their opening win against Argentina.
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