Scotland have no plans to pursue any further explanation from World Rugby as to why Sam Skinner’s late try against France was not awarded.
A hugely controversial finish to Saturday’s Six Nations clash at Murrayfield saw Skinner dive over for what looked to be the match-winning score.
After deliberating over the footage for the best part of five minutes, however, referee Nic Berry and TMO Brian MacNeice ruled there was no conclusive evidence of the ball being touched down.
That was despite TV images appearing to show that Skinner had it down, with the officials actually in agreement at one stage to award the try, only to go back and rule it out.
The vast majority of observers agreed that the try should have been awarded, which would have seen Scotland win the game instead of France.
Scotland were controversially denied a winning try against France on Saturday
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said afterwards that clarity would be sought from World Rugby, although that is just standard post-match practice these days. However, there would have been scope and precedent for Scotland to escalate the matter further had they chosen to do so.
They could have formalised their concerns in writing and requested an official explanation from the governing body, specifically with regards to the TMO process.
For instance, after last year’s World Cup final, New Zealand asked World Rugby for an explanation as to why Aaron Smith’s try was ruled out against South Africa.
‘We’ve already sent a file into World Rugby for them to make a few comments on,’ said All Blacks coach Ian Foster at the time.
World Rugby were then prompted into a public response after reports in New Zealand claimed the authorities had privately admitted the try should have stood. Mail Sport understands, however, that Scotland have no plans to pursue the matter any further than the standard post-match dialogue with World Rugby.
For Scotland scrum-half Ben White, the matter is now closed — and he insists it would be wrong for Berry and the TMO to be vilified.
After the World Cup final last year, referee Wayne Barnes was the target of vile online abuse after disallowing Smith’s try for the All Blacks.
Asked about the chorus of boos from the Murrayfield crowd at full-time, White, who scored Scotland’s only try against France, said: ‘People are passionate, they care, it means a lot to them. Some people in the heat of the moment might have booed, but I want people to show the ref respect.
Scotland co-captain Finn Russell believed the ball had been touched down on the line
‘He doesn’t need to get any abuse. He’s made his decision, he’s done his process and, look, that’s life. Things go wrong all the time. Whether he’s made the right or wrong call, it’s not for me to talk about and put pressure on him.
‘I didn’t really hear the booing. I was caught up in my own emotions but, hey, he’s made his call and that’s life.
‘I hope he doesn’t receive any backlash. We have to be better as a team so that we don’t even bring him into it. I haven’t heard the conversation they had, but they’re very experienced officials and good at their jobs. They’ve gone back and forth and you have to respect their call. We’ve all seen the ball on the floor but the question the ref’s asked, he said he’s seen the ball held up, so then it has to be really clear and obvious for it to be overturned.
‘That’s their decision and that’s what we have to live with. It’s a frustrating one but they’ve made the decision. We have to move on now.’
White agreed Scotland should have been more clinical in a match France won 20-16, despite the visitors being second best for much of the contest. In the 10-minute period either side of half-time, when France were down to 14 men, Scotland’s failure to score any points proved costly.
White admits they need to sharpen up in attack and utilise more of the weapons at their disposal.
Asked what needs to improve for the visit of England a week on Saturday, he said: ‘When we’re on top, being accurate. Last week against Wales, when we were on top, we took our chances really well, the few that we had. Against France, our patience was really good in the finish zone and we put them under good pressure but it was just a couple of passes.
TV replays appeared to show Sam Skinner had grounded the ball down on the line
Referee Nic Berry and TMO Brian MacNeice ruled there was no conclusive evidence of the ball being touched down
‘Whether we can play them a little bit earlier or just how we convert that pressure into points, that is something we can do better. One thing we have done, partly due to the conditions, is kick a little bit more and try to get good ball back.
‘When we’re in these kicking battles, it’s how we can come alive as a team, how can we maybe play the game and bring some of our individuals into it.
‘The more we can get some of our athletes on the ball, the better we play. France are a very good side. It would have been great if we scored just before half-time, which would have been important.
‘We played well enough there to win the match in tricky conditions. But there are things we also need to improve on.’