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England pay 'frightening' ref Adamson a contact area compliment

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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England have paid a compliment to Mike Adamson, the referee whose ability to properly manage this Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations match at Twickenham was called into question last month following his controversial involvement in a game across the Chertsey Road at The Stoop. 


The Scottish official ignited a social media storm for some of his decisions in the Heineken Champions Cup match between Harlequins and Castres, unconvincing officiating that followed on from his red-carding earlier in January of Munster’s Simon Zebo, a decision that was overturned at a disciplinary hearing that determined the incorrect player was carded.  

Stephen Jones, The Sunday Times rugby correspondent, tweeted: “Referee for Quins v Castres was alarmingly poor, Castres may as well not have bothered coming. It is frightening that the same official, Mike Adamson, is doing England v Wales. AND France v Italy. How can that be when Wayne Barnes only has one game?”

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Ex-England out-half Andy Goode posted: “Got to feel for Castres, some horrific decisions have gone against them there”, a take on the refereeing performance that drew a response from Eddie O’Sullivan, the former Ireland coach.

“Keep in mind the shocking forward pass in the lead up to the 1st Pen. People wonder why coaches get so upset with referees. Most frustrating part is there are zero consequences for Mike Adamson. He is promoted to the 6 Nations despite his performance.”


Adamson was on the whistle in Paris on February 6 when France beat Italy and he will now double up in the Six Nations by taking charge of this Saturday’s England versus Wales game, a match he will arrive into on the back of a Friday media briefing compliment from Richard Cockerill, the English forwards coach who knows the Scotsman well from his time as director of rugby at Edinburgh from 2017 though to July last year. 


Asked what England would be looking to do better against Wales following their opening Six Nations matches this month against Scotland and Italy, Cockerill replied: “Probably we thought we could have taken more opportunities in both games so far. We are still working hard on our attack and making sure that we play how we want to play and making sure that is really sharp. 

“But also the physical parts, we know the contest at the contact area, the set-piece area is going to be a fierce battle. Like most weeks (we are focused on) a bit of everything but certainly our attacking game is really important to us to but to do that you have to win the gain line, you have to be physical, you have to make sure that the contact area is clean. We have got a good referee for that as well who deals with the contact area well, so it should be a good contest and a quick one. 

“Wales have got a big pack. From a scrum point of view, we know (Tomas) Francis well because he has played in the Premiership and there are lots of guys here that know him well. I think we are well-prepped in that part. We have just got to make sure we show a clean picture, do our jobs really well and control what we can control. As ever we want to have a keen, physical contest at the set-piece. Potentially it is a deciding factor in how the game turns out.” 

Saturday is a must-win encounter if England are to maintain hopes of winning back the Six Nations title after Wales succeeded them as champions last year. “If we want to have any opportunity to win the championship we need to win all three games and that starts tomorrow, so it is an important game. We know we have to win. To win we are going to have to play very well. It is an important game if we want to have a chance to be Six Nations champions.”



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