The Six Nations clash between Scotland and France at Murrayfield came down right to the wire with a TMO decision deciding the match’s final outcome.
In the end, France left Edinburgh with a 20-16 victory, but the final decision left fans fuming, as Scotland were denied a match-winning score in the final play of the game.
Winger Louis Bielle-Biarrey scored a try in the 71st minute, with Thomas Ramos’ conversion giving France the lead for the first time in the match, with the full-back adding another three points, leaving Scotland needing a try to win the match.
Match-winning try, denied.
Kyle Rowe made a stunning break into the French 22 but knocked the ball on when he went to ground, which looked to have handed Les Bleus the victory, but Scotland were determined and forced an error from the resulting scrum, giving them one final shot at the win.
Soon afterwards, second-rower Sam Skinner drove over the line and looked to have scored, although he initially placed the ball on the leg of Yoram Moefana. Referee Nic Berry initially deemed the ball to be held up and called upon his TMO to review the decision.
However, Berry crucially told his TMO Brian MacNeice that his on-field decision was ‘no try’, meaning that there needed to be conclusive evidence that the try was scored, which ultimately MacNeice was unable to provide.
The replays initially showed the ball to be held up on Moefana’s boot, only to then appear to slide back and be grounded.
Late heartbreak for Scotland 😓
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 10, 2024
The decision sparked outrage from Scottish fans, while many sympathised with the match officials.
Former British and Irish Lions and Wales captain Sam Warburton reflected on the decision in his role as BBC’s pundit: “To be fair, I think that is a try. I am 95% sure that is a try, but can we say that is 100% a try? We couldn’t, so we have to stick with Nic Berry’s on-field decision.”
While Warburton understood how the officials got to the decision, many Scottish fans weren’t as accepting.
“That’s an awful decision by the officials but to be honest if Scotland showed a bit of ambition early in the second half and that was put to bed. We can’t be doing the old thing of competing bravely in the dying minutes in matches we’ve led all game,” The Scottish Rugby Blog posted on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.
Another fan added: “You can see the ball on the foot, then again and again and again you can see it go down two inches to the ground. You can also see the foot it was initially resting on MOVE AWAY. Brian MacNeice absolutely shafted Scotland and we all watched him do it.”
“That’s the worst decision, cowardly fae the TMO. Scotland absolutely robbed here,” @Historic_Ally posted.
“That is a stunning decision by the TMO. You can clearly see the ball on the ground, under Tuilagi’s arm which is the only part which could possibly be holding the ball up. I don’t like to bag refs, but I’m at a loss as to what more evidence he could need. Feels like a robbery,” @RuckedOver added.
Sympathy for the TMO
Former Ireland hooker Bernard Jackman noted that it was ‘tough’ call.
“Who would be a TMO in rugby union. Incredibly tough to call it as a try even though we can guess that it probably was down. Huge result for Fabian Galthie,” he wrote.
Fellow former Ireland international Brian O’Driscoll agreed, writing, “Incredibly tough call to make that. TMO right as no CERTAIN line of sight of ball touched down. Very likely it was.”
They were joined by many who felt for the officials.
“That’s about the toughest decision a TMO has ever been given. The ball is almost certainly down, but the various angles and question asked/on-field decision protocols makes it impossible to give. Cruel for whichever team is on the wrong side,” popular YouTube rugby analyst Squidge Rugby added.
Columnist Paul Williams added: “I think that’s genuinely the most difficult TMO call I’ve ever seen since the protocol was instigated. Total coin flip.”
Meanwhile, France captain Gregory Alldritt needed just one replay to make up his mind.
Gregory Alldritt says he knew from the first replay that it wasn't a try for Scotland. A man of conviction, clearly.
— Mark Palmer (@MarkPalmerST) February 10, 2024