Despite six days having passed, former England utility back Austin Healey is clearly still fuming after England’s Guinness Six Nations upset loss to Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
What’s more, Healey said he’d have walked off the pitch if he had been treated the way the England captain Owen Farrell was by referee Pascal Gauzere during England’s controversial loss to Wayne Pivac’s Wales.
Writing in his column in The Telegraph, Healey lambasted the referee and applauded Dan Biggar for his quick thinking and ‘cajoling’ of the French official.
“That was some of the worst officiating I have seen in my 30 years in rugby. This isn’t sour grapes. We don’t know what the outcome would have been had Wales not had a 14-point headstart,” wrote Healey.
“Most of the England team had their backs turned to Dan Biggar, who I’m not criticising at all by the way, he almost cajoled the referee into putting time back on and it was very clever. If I was Owen Farrell there, I’d have felt like walking off the pitch.
“If the referee hasn’t got the respect to talk you through his decision, I’d have wanted to take the tee and said right, off we go.”
Healey likened it to a childhood incident when he had a try taken away from him for a spurious reason.
“We’re not playing with that. It wasn’t even close to being right. I’ve never seen such a bad decision since I was 12 years old and had an 80-metre try disallowed because my laces were undone.”
The internet has a long memory. https://t.co/p5uyWsygbx
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 5, 2021
After the game England head coach Eddie Joens refused to directly criticise the decision, but did say Wales were awarded points that they didn’t deserve.
“They [Wales] get points that maybe they don’t deserve and we got to fight hard to get back in the game. It makes it difficult and you have got to be good enough to be able to overcome that. They were worthy winners and we have got to be able to handle those circumstances as unusual as they might be.
“Whenever you get beaten and you get beaten by a penalty count it’s an issue but there were bigger issues in the game than that and I think you hit on them initially, so I will let you discuss them.”
“They are huge decisions, aren’t they? Look, we can’t debate it, mate, as you know. We are not allowed to debate it. All I will end up with is a fine and that doesn’t help anyone. The dog won’t be able to eat its food, wife won’t be able to eat so I can’t say anything… as I said, mate, I want my dog to eat food so I’m not allowed to say anything. I’m sure you guys [the media] can make commentary how you wish to on it.”
Gauzere appears to have acknowledged it as a mistake, with World Rugby’s Head of Match Officials, Joel Jutge, making public a conversation the pair had earlier this week. “I believe one has to be transparent and not let things drag on and say what one thinks. There were two unfortunate events during the match which were tough cases to handle. Pascal Gauzere recognised as such when he spoke to me on the phone,” Jutge said.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now