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Wales 26-30 Australia
Gatland criticises referee after Test defeat
ESPN Staff
December 1, 2013
Joe Tomane touches down superbly ... but not to Warren Gatland's satisfaction © Getty Images
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Wales coach Warren Gatland has criticised referee Wayne Barnes for awarding Australia their final try in their dramatic 30-26 victory in Cardiff.

Joe Tomane superbly picked up a low pass one handed off the ground and dived over the line in the corner. Barnes referred the score to the TMO asking if the final pass had been forward. After several replays, the TMO said he had a decision but before he could say what it was Barnes interrupted saying he had seen the replays and they were inconclusive so he was awarding the try.

In the line of fire

  • Who'd be a referee? The villain of the peace one way or the other during the game, and then subjected to trial by television after it. Throw into the mix the variances in interpretation of the laws and it's an unenviable job.

    Warren Gatland's post-match frustration is understandable but his implication that Wayne Barnes would not have awarded Joe Tomane's try had it been against the All Blacks is churlish and a rather childish implication referees favour the bigger teams.

    A number of replays at the time were inconclusive - both sides could argue a case - and eventually Barnes had seen enough, cutting off the TMO in mid flow to give the score. He could clearly be heard saying he had seen enough himself and as the replays proved nothing one way or the other his initial decision stood.

    Barnes was right, The referee is in charge, the TMO is an aid. It is not some kind of official democratic process. Nor is the TMO the final say, he is there to ensure there are no obvious wrongs and to help referees not be above them. So, Barnes rightly made the call.

    With regards to Gatland's claims of a penalty-try, again he is seeing the game through red-tinted spectacles. The tackle was so fractionally early that it again took several replays for the TMO to give an opinion. There is a stronger argument that Quade Cooper was unlucky to be yellow carded.

"The referee made the decision himself, without the TMO. I doubt he would have made that decision himself if it was the [New Zealand] All Blacks playing," said Gatland. "He made the call himself. I haven't spoken to him about it. It is not going to change the result."

He also said that Barnes could have awarded a penalty try when Quade Cooper tackled Scott Williams a fraction of a second before he received the ball. Cooper was yellow carded after replays.

Gatland was disappointed not to win but said: "We are knocking at the door at the moment, and at some stage we are going to knock it over. It was a great game of rugby if you were a neutral or an Australian. It was a real Test match out there,"

"The thing is with the southern hemisphere now, which is different to the past, is that they are coming here fully loaded and not making changes. We dug deep, and we showed courage to come back. Our fitness looked good in the second half, and we put ourselves in a position where we had a chance to win it."

While he praised his players, he did admit that some of the on-field decision making would be under the spotlight. "It was frustrating that of the 18 penalties we got, I think 14 were at the breakdown, which stopped some of the momentum we were trying to create.

"We will review a few things in the game, whether we would have made different decisions that might have affected the outcome, but I just thought the last period of the game we looked pretty good. As a whole, we are disappointed we didn't win."

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