Pascal Gauzere, the referee in charge of Saturday’s Six Nations match between Wales and England, has admitted to making mistakes with some decisions during the game.
Pundits, supporters and players were left baffled by the awarding of Wales’ first two tries at the Principality Stadium, with Gauzere and his officiating team coming under heavy criticism for the calls.
Prior to the first Welsh try, Gauzere had told England captain Owen Farrell that he must speak to his players about their discipline.
🗣 Have a word with your team.
We’ve bumped up the ref mic so you can properly hear the interaction between Owen Farrell and Pascal Gauzêre for that first Welsh try.#WALvENG #GuinnessSixNations #VMTVRugby pic.twitter.com/GsaVx5YC3y
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) February 27, 2021
While the majority of the English players were still in a huddle being spoken to by their captain, Gauzere allowed Wales fly-half Dan Biggar to take a penalty quickly, before cross-field kicking the ball to Josh Adams in acres of space on the wing.
Farrell protested to the referee, explaining that several water carriers were still on the pitch, but was waved away by the Frenchman.
Wales were awarded another controversial try in the first half, when winger Louis Rees-Zammit was clearly seen to have lost the ball forward, but TMO Alexandre Ruiz deemed that the Welshman had not knocked the ball on.
‘One has to be transparent’
World Rugby referees’ manager Joel Jutge told French publication Midi Olympique that Gauzere had admitted to him that he had made mistakes during the match.
“I believe one has to be transparent and not let things drag on and say what one thinks,” Jutge said.
“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.
“With regards to the second try, I think there is a tendency to refer to the TMO too often when one can make the call oneself on the pitch and stick with it, which if Pascal had whistled for a knock-on there would have meant no appeal by the TMO to review it.
“Pascal was the first to admit to this when he re-watched the match on Sunday. When one commits an error one should be transparent about it. Despite this he is still an excellent international referee.”
Despite the controversial calls, England decided against making a formal complaint against the referee’s performance.