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Wales Accused Of Gamesmanship – Do They Have A Case To Answer?

With Warren Gatland making 14 changes to the team which fell to defeat against the Wallabies a week ago, the match against an ever-improving Georgia was always going to be a difficult task. 

And so it proved to be as Wales laboured to a 13-6 victory over Milton Haig’s side who never gave up throughout the 80-minute contest.

However, the game wasn’t without its controversy as accusations of gamesmanship are being put towards Wales after the events of the final minutes of Saturday’s encounter at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

In stoppage time and with Georgia just metres from the Welsh line, Tomas Francis cleared out a Georgian player from the ruck but he came in from the side and was yellow-carded as a result.

With Georgia having dominance at the scrum all day, and just metres from the try line, the decision to go for a scrum was always going to occur rather than kicking for the corner.

This is when the confusion began.

Nicky Smith and Leon Brown, who started the game, had already been substituted. Now the normal procedure in this situation would be that one of those substituted players would return to the fray to complete the scrum, however, both players were deemed unfit to return even though at one stage they were both on the sideline looking like they were about to come on.

So because there was no available prop to compete in the scrum, an uncontested scrum was then announced by referee Mathieu Raynal after some lengthy consultation with the fourth official.

Martyn Williams gave his thoughts when the incident was unfolding.

“It’s interesting how Leon Brown and Nicky Smith are stood on the touchline a couple of minutes ago ready to come back on and then I think they just realised they’re supposed to be injured and are sent back down so I think, we saw it happen against us last year in France so it’s very interesting decision by the Welsh. Obviously, if they are injured I do apologise, but it’s a bit of a coincidence that one for me.”

The call was ultimately changed as a result and Georgia went for the corner, they failed to gain much from their maul and Wales ended up turning it over a few phases later.

You can watch the whole thing unfold below – what do you make of it?


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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email or on Twitter