Nigel Owens weighs in on ‘very difficult’ TMO call in Scotland’s loss

Jared Wright

Former World Rugby referee Nigel Owens has weighed in on the controversial TMO decision that decided the Six Nations clash between Scotland and France on Saturday.

France scored in the match’s final ten minutes to edge ahead of Scotland. A penalty soon after made it a four-point game in the closing stages.

Les Bleus had a scrum deep in their half and needed to hold onto the ball but were unable to do so as Scotland won a turnover and went in search of a winning score.

With time up on the clock, Sam Skinner drove over the line and looked to have been held up by the French defence before sliding the ball back and seemingly dotting it down over the line.

However, referee Nic Berry judged that Skinner had been held up but did call on his TMO to review the decision, but the officials would need conclusive evidence that the Scottish lock scored to overturn the on-field call.

But they could not do so, and France secured the 20-16 victory to get their Six Nations campaign back on track.

‘Very very tough’

Reviewing the incident on BBC’s coverage, Owens explained why the officials were unable to award the try even though it was more than likely that Skinner had scored.

“When the referee gives an on-field decision, you have to have clear evidence to overturn that decision,” the 100 Test cap former referee said.

“Now, it’s a very, very difficult decision to make as you said in the studio. It all comes down to the TMO and the ‘clear evidence’; it looks like it’s probably on the ground.

“Is there enough for them to say 100 per cent that it is scored? Probably not. It’s one of those really, really tough ones, but the ball looks like it is on the ground.

“It’s a very tough one, they will be debating this one for a long time I think. I’m glad that I’m sitting here and not out on the field.”

Both teams now enjoy a week’s break before returning for the third round of the Six Nations, with France hosting Italy while Scotland will look to hold onto the Calcutta Cup when England visit Murrayfield.

READ MORE: Scotland ‘absolutely robbed’ as TMO denies match-winning try against France