LONDON • Wales coach Warren Gatland said a "terrible mistake" by the television match official (TMO) had cost his side the chance of an upset victory over England at Twickenham on Saturday.
With England leading 12-0, it appeared Wales fullback Gareth Anscombe, under pressure from home wing Anthony Watson, had touched down for a 24th-minute try. But experienced television match official Glenn Newman ruled Anscombe had not grounded the ball.
French referee Jerome Garces awarded Wales a penalty, which Rhys Patchell kicked, for an infringement in the build-up. But that still left England two scores in front at 12-3.
England, who saw wing Jonny May twice cross early on for his first tries in the Six Nations, held on, with an Anscombe penalty three minutes from time too late to prevent the 6-12 loss.
"I cannot understand why the television match official did not award Gareth Anscombe the try," said Gatland of a decision made by Newman, his fellow New Zealander. "You could see on the replay that he got there first, put his hand on the ball and grounded it. It was a big moment in the game and he (Newman) got the decision wrong.
"It looked like a fair try to me. It is disappointing to get such a big decision wrong. The TMO had one big call to make and he made a terrible mistake."
England coach Eddie Jones preferred to steer clear of the controversy, heaping praise on his side who have now won 15 consecutive home games in the Six Nations.
"I don't know why people say we're lucky with the refereeing decision," he said. "The TMO has all the time in the world to make his decision and I never get involved in what is decided. He made a decision and you get on with it.
"It was a win built around a lot of courage, a lot belief in the team... The effort in defence was first class."
Holders England slipped behind Ireland at the top of the table on points difference but remained on course for an unprecedented third successive Six Nations title.
Ireland crushed Italy 56-19 at Lansdowne Road on Saturday, running in eight tries to secure their first bonus point of the championship.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS