Wales sink Scotland with controversial try

Gareth Davies of Wales runs in to score his team's first try. Scotland's players felt the try should have been ruled out for offside, but the referee awarded it and the Scots fell to their ninth straight loss against the Welsh.
Gareth Davies of Wales runs in to score his team's first try. Scotland's players felt the try should have been ruled out for offside, but the referee awarded it and the Scots fell to their ninth straight loss against the Welsh. PHOTO: REUTERS

CARDIFF • Scotland, who were on the wrong end of a controversial penalty that cost them a World Cup semi-final spot, were again left to rue a refereeing decision in a narrow 23-27 Six Nations loss to Wales on Saturday.

The Scots were frustrated that an early try from Gareth Davies was awarded by referee George Clancy after the scrum-half appeared to be in an offside position.

While it may not have been as heart-breaking as Australia's last- minute penalty in last year's World Cup quarter-final after Scotland were called offside, there was no doubt in captain Greig Laidlaw's mind that it was incorrect.

"I certainly thought he was offside and you could see that from our body language on the field. We were moving up and we thought we were going to pick up a penalty," he told reporters. "We are never going to get that back."

Former England centre Jeremy Guscott and Scotland scrum-half Andy Nichol, in their role as pundits for the BBC, agreed the referee got it wrong.

Scotland coach Vern Cotter said: "I thought, and I could well be wrong, that he was offside. But that is part of the game, everybody makes mistakes.

"We are obviously upset and disappointed not to win. I thought the boys put in a pretty good shift but there is no excuse for us."

It was an improved performance from the Scots after a stuttering 9-15 loss to England in their opener.

They were the dominant team against Wales for 60 minutes, scoring two tries, and winning the battle for possession and territory. But missed tackles cost the Scots, with 15 to only eight from the hosts, as they conceded two tries in the last quarter of the match. They also lost three of their own lineouts and a scrum.

"It was a tough game, we had to dig deep and we had to grind out a victory," Wales coach Warren Gatland told reporters. "We had to use everything that we had in the tank to get the victory."

Over in Paris, France snatched a 10-9 win over defending champions Ireland.

France coach Guy Noves paid tribute to his team's ferocious will and intelligence after they followed up their opening 23-21 win against Italy with a gritty performance.

Les Bleus prevailed thanks to Maxime Medard's second-half try, after they decided to opt for a lineout instead of going for three points had they taken the penalty.

"I think the players won, not the coaching. That's down to (captain Guilhem) Guirado. He chose to take a lineout rather than a penalty and after successive scrums there was a wonderful try on the back of it," Noves told a news conference.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2016, with the headline 'Wales sink Scotland with controversial try'. Print Edition | Subscribe