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Cardiff crowd got to Nic Berry claims former Scotland skipper

By Ian Cameron
Referee Nic Berry makes a decision whilst looking at the TMO with assistants Wayne Barnes (l) and Chris Busby during the Guinness Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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A former Scotland captain believes that the crowd in the Principality Stadium influenced Australian referee Nic Berry during Wales’ win over the Scots in Cardiff.

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A clutch drop goal from Dan Biggar secured a 20-17 win for Wales over Scotland in a thrilling Six Nations round game. While many think the Welsh were good value for the win, some of Berry’s calls were a topic of debate in the aftermath.

Former Scotland captain Rory Lawson said he believed that Berry was influenced by the raucous crowd and it was enough to swing the game in Wales’ favour.

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“The influence that this crowd has on the players, I think they grow, they have an element of having a superhero costume on underneath their strips,” said on Rugby Union Daily podcast.

“But I also think it influences the officials and Nic Berry, and I feel that in a game that is as close as that… those small decisions from the officials make a big difference. When you actually break it down and pick through the bones of everything, it’s been a game that’s been decided across a small number of moments that have added up.”

The score was tied at 17-17 with 13 minutes left when Biggar’s rival No.10, Finn Russell, was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on – moments after Biggar had struck an upright with a long-range penalty.

“Whether you talk about the Dan Biggar drop goal, I think if Scotland had won you could have easily looked at a penalty 20 minutes in when Wales, I think it was Jac Morgan, went into kickchase before it had been played onside. Those are the moments that you forget about when it comes to the 80th minute but as they accumulate across the game, they all play a massive influence.”

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“When you get that warning, you understand that you’ve got to be squeaky clean and that means you lose intensity in and around that breakdown,” said Lawson. “Those little fine margins that you’d maybe have a little nibble that isn’t going to get you penalised but might slow the ball down by half a second which gives your defence half a second longer to get organised.

“As it is, they just held off those and it gave Wales the opportunity to potentially win the collision, get slightly better ball and generate that momentum that in a game of such fine margins, you’re looking at the minutiae of the influence that that has. I think it had an influence.

“Scotland were on the wrong side of a purple patch whereby Wales could generate some momentum and it came about early from that warning and Scotland didn’t do enough to wipe the slate clean with Nic Berry, whereby they spent five minutes in the Welsh 22 and then start planting some questions in his mind about the Welsh defence or a yellow card. That was always there and it just continued to manifest itself in their actions, and there was a marginal drop in intensity.”

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– additional reporting AAP

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