Wales’ first try against England at the weekend was a point of contention between Jamie Roberts and Dylan Hartley on RugbyPass Offload. Christina Mahon, Roberts and Hartley were joined by Wales flanker Dan Lydiate in the wake of a Test match that had two highly controversial tries in the third round of the Six Nations.
The opening try of the match came courtesy of a cross-field kick from Dan Biggar to Josh Adams only moments after referee Pascal Gaüzère had said that play was back on after telling England captain Owen Farrell to talk to his team.
The Welsh centre believes England switched off in this instance, and while the referee should have communicated with Farrell, he never indicated that Wales were going for goal.
But the former England captain feels the referee restarted the game without telling Farrell, which “doesn’t happen in rugby”.
“I see no problem whatsoever with that cross-field kick,” Roberts said. “I thought it was very smart play by Dan Biggar. If that happened to us, and certainly when Dan and I played with the defensive leaders we had in that Welsh side for many years, we would be kicking ourselves if we turned our backs and the ref hadn’t pointed to the sticks. And we’d take full responsibility.
“Certainly playing under Shaun Edwards, he made us very aware that you watch out for quick taps, Kieran Hardy scored a try from one, and you watch out for those penalties. Until the ref has signalled to the posts, you do not switch off. Now I think it was lazy defence from England, I think they can have no complaints.
“I know the argument that if you’ve got a ref telling you to speak to your team, he should then give you the opportunity to come back, but Dan Biggar is a very smart player and he asked a question ‘let me know when time’s back on’. Bang, blows the whistle, thank you very much.
“So I just don’t think England have got an argument on that one. The knock-on, shoe’s on the other foot. I think that’s a clear knock-on, and how he can’t give that I’m bemused.
“There was a moment when Biggs has said ‘can you let me know when time is back on?’ that the ref looks over to the England squad, looks at his whistle and just blows it. That was the time for the ref to go ‘Owen, I’m going to put play back on, I’m ready now,’ and he didn’t and I think he probably should have. But even still, my argument is that he didn’t point to the sticks.”
Hartley responded with his take on the series of events that led to the try: “As a captain, if the ref says ‘talk to your team, time is off,’ you bring your team in. There’s only a couple of times you bring your team in, in a game, that’s one if there’s a bad injury, where time is off and the water carrier’s on the field, you all come in and have a chit-chat and then the game gets back to life. The other time is when the ref tells you to talk to your team. He told Owen to do that, Owen brings his team in, and he’s basically started the game without letting the opposition captain know.
“So at kick-off time, the ref looks to the opposition captain, goes ‘you alright?’ and you go ‘yes,’ he looks to the other captain and goes ‘you alright?’ and he goes ‘yes,’ and he starts the game. That is usually how the game restarts after that sort of moment.
“How the hell are you supposed to talk to your team and then get back into a position of strength?
“I think, as a ref trying to work with two captains, it’s like he didn’t want to work with Owen, he didn’t want to give him a chance which I think is unfair.
"As the doctor came on I put more weight on my leg and it just buckled"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 5, 2021
“Even with the second try, I’ve seen those given in rugby. He lost control of the ball, knocked it on, knocked it back, I don’t care. Those things happen in rugby. But the first thing, that doesn’t happen in rugby.
“In such a controversial moment in a game, the fourth official goes very quiet.”
Dan Lydiate describes the euphoric feeling of winning a Lions test series in Australia and what unfolded in the following days and hours ? #BritishAndIrishLions @ChristinaMahonx @dan_lydiate @DylanHartley @Jamiehuwroberts pic.twitter.com/vvTVWY5Mce
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 5, 2021
Lydiate also offered his opinion, understanding why England feel aggrieved but also highlighting that Biggar is always looking for such a kick.
“It depends which side you sit on the Severn Bridge,” the flanker said when asked whether the try should have been allowed. “I don’t think Liam Williams’ try was a try, personally. But I know from experience playing with Biggs that he’s always looking out for that.
“As soon as he can, if the English guys have not got in place quick enough, he’s going to have a sniff for it.
“But from an English perspective, you’re going to be tamping, because Owen Farrell didn’t get a clear signal, that’s what he was protesting.
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