Referee reported to have had better view of England try than online trolls
If we cannot trust the decision made by a referee who has basically stuck his head into a pile of bodies to see if a try has been scored, it is hard to know when we can ever trust a referee.
But in the wake of England’s victory over Wales at the Principality Stadium on Saturday in round three of the Guinness Six Nations, referee Mathieu Raynal has come under fire. Arch nemesis of World Rugby and all referees TAS Analytics is one that has questioned the legality of England’s first two tries.
The criticism of England’s first try comes down to interpretation of the law, and with regards to the forward pass maybe highlights a lack of understanding of the nuances of the laws of rugby or maybe the laws of physics and momentum. But the second one, Kyle Sinckler’s from close range, puts rugby in a very odd place.
Take a look at the try:
Take a look at the criticism:
Often the TMO helps in situations where the referee might have missed the grounding of the ball due to the speed of everything happening. In that case, different angles, and, more importantly, being able to slow everything down is crucial to coming to a conclusion. But in this instance nothing needed to be slowed down, nor could Raynal have missed anything.
The referee was literally centimetres away from the pile of English and Welsh bodies. In that position, having a head and eyes and knees and a neck to allow you to bend down and look is better than any angle a TMO could provide. As for the speed of play, this was 120kg Kyle Sinckler barging his way over from one metre out, this wasn’t Louis Rees-Zammit producing a diving finish in the corner.
Even if Raynal had refered to the TMO, his on-field decision was a try, meaning the TMO would have needed to find clear and obvious evidence that it was held up. While there is a brief moment where it looks as though Tipuric has held the ball up, the view is immediately blocked by Tipuric himself. Most importantly though, this split second where the ball is not grounded was before Raynal had even run around the mess of bodies to look at the grounding from above. The Frenchman is on his knees looking down to see if Sinckler has grounded the ball, which actually would have obstructed the TMO’s view even further. At that point it is hard to see how any camera had a better view of the grounding than the referee.