There were no red cards, but Six Nations officiating once again took centre stage after Wales’ drama filled 40 – 24 win over England at the Principality.
Referee Pascal Gauzere was involved with two controversial moments. The first was when he allowed Wales to play on and score, despite appearing to give Owen Farrell a few moments to talk to his England players about their discipline.
“Every single water carrier was on the field,” Farrell pleaded with Gauzere. “You’ve got to give us time to set!”
At halftime and after re-watching the footage, former Wales captain Sam Warburton told his BBC commentary colleagues that he “would be livid if I was Owen Farrell and England.”
It was a sentiment that former England captain and manager Martin Johnson agreed with. In fact a dumbfounded Johnson at times appeared to be incapable of speech, such was his frustration. He branded it ‘appalling’.
Ugo Monye also bagged the Frenchman’s performance on Twitter, saying: “Players and coaches take criticism, fair game… The level of officiating in this 1st half is actually disgraceful.” He later deleted the tweet.
The Telegraph’s Charlie Morgan pointed out that Gauzere had actually been responsible for an eerily similar decision, again between England and Wales, and again, involving Dan Biggar.
“Wales-England, August 2019. Anthony Watson has just been yellow-carded. Dan Biggar takes a penalty quickly to find Josh Adams. Referee was also Pascal Gauzere. Score a phase later. Fool me once, etc…” wrote Morgan on Twitter.
Wales-England, August 2019. Anthony Watson has just been yellow-carded. Dan Biggar takes a penalty quickly to find Josh Adams. Referee was also Pascal Gauzere. Score a phase later. Fool me once, etc… pic.twitter.com/NoM3ejjnZJ
— Charlie Morgan (@CharlieFelix) February 27, 2021
Other accounts saw the funny side of the decision.
It’s funny, growing up with Pascal Gauzere in the Vale of Glamorgan, I never expected him to go this far as a ref…
— Laura-Jane Jones ? (@MissLJJ) February 27, 2021
Okay Pascal Gauzêre, tell Owen to go and speak his team.
— Alternative Sport (@WeAreAltSport) February 27, 2021
The second incident saw him allow a try despite Loius Rees-Zammit appearing to fumble the ball, albeit backwards, in the lead up to the try. There was less debate over that decision. After the match, Owen Farrell himself refused be drawn on Gauzere when pushed hard by the BBC’s Sonja McLaughlin.
“That is not for us to talk about,” Farrell told McLaughlin “We got our way back into it in that second half and didn’t quite finish it off. There is plenty where we can do better.
“There is no point in talking about it now. That is for everyone else to talk about.
“We will focus on what we can control.”
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