Pascal Gauzere: Six Nations referee admits to mistakes in England's loss to Wales in Cardiff

March 01, 2021

Referee Pascal Gauzere has admitted to making mistakes in England's 40-24 Guinness Six Nations defeat by Wales on Saturday.

Gauzere has spoken to World Rugby's head of match officials Joel Jutge about "two unfortunate events" as Eddie Jones' team saw their title defence come to an end at the Principality Stadium.

The French official awarded Wales two controversial tries in the first half that enabled the hosts to power into a commanding 17-6 lead.

For Josh Adams' opener, Gauzere told England captain Owen Farrell to speak to his team over their discipline, and when the Frenchman called time back on England were not set, allowing Dan Biggar to hoist the crossfield kick from which Wales scored.

The second try on the half-hour mark, scored by Liam Williams, also sparked debate as Louis Rees-Zammit appeared to knock on during the build-up.

"I think we have to be transparent and rather than let things get worse, we should say what we think," Jutge told Midi Olympique.

"In that match, there were two unfortunate incidents that weren't simple to manage. Pascal Gauzere admitted as much himself on the phone to me on Sunday morning.

"From the time when the referee says 'time on', the game can resume, but it was down to him to ensure that England had had enough time to reorganise themselves because he was the one who'd asked the captain to address his players."

On the second score, Jutge said: "The Wales winger did not have the ball under control and it fell forwards on to his thigh. This notion of losing control doesn't appear in the current laws, which is why the situation lends itself to confusion. The reality is that if he'd blown up for a knock-on for that, nobody would've had an issue with it."

"This is one of the strange effects of TMO, as there's sometimes a tendency to look at too many things under the microscope," Jutge continued. "You have to strike the right balance and a simple decision involving common sense would have sufficed in this case.

"There was a loss of control and the ball went forwards, so it was a knock-on. Pascal watched it back on Sunday morning and he's the first person to admit that.

"This doesn't take anything away from the fact that he remains an excellent international referee."

Jones said after the game Wales got points "maybe they don't deserve", but England chose not to submit a formal complaint to World Rugby over the two tries, and were ultimately well beaten despite the incidents - the first of which was described by former captain Martin Johnson as "absolutely appalling".

Wales clinched the Triple Crown with the Principality Stadium victory, and kept their Grand Slam hopes on course ahead of games against Italy and France.

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