• England were leading Wales 12-0 when Gareth Anscombe thought he had scored
  • Referee Jerome Garces consulted the TMO before disallowing the Wales try
  • Garces asked the TMO for clarification regarding the grounding of the ball
  • Anscombe was disappointed after the game claiming the TMO can be wrong
  • The Welsh Rugby Union will now flag the incident up to World Rugby for review


On 23 minutes, with England 12-0 up, Wales thought they had scored a try through Gareth Anscombe but after a Television Match Official (TMO) review lasting one minute and 45 seconds, the score was controversially disallowed.


With a penalty coming Wales’ way, fly-half Rhys Patchell kicks to the left corner for wing Steff Evans to chase. The ball bounces off Evans’ left knee and bobbles into the in-goal area. Anscombe and Anthony Watson both dive for it but it is uncertain who grounded the ball first.


The assistant referee, Irishman George Clancy, says to French referee Jerome Garces: ‘I think it came off the knee of the red player (Evans) and then was grounded by white.’

Garces then signals for a video referral and says to the New Zealander TMO Glenn Newman: ‘We want to know — try, yes or no? First check whether the red player touched the ball with his knee and, after, the grounding please.’

After seeing three replays, Newman says: ‘The ball has come off the knee of the Welsh player, but has not been clearly grounded. The first grounding is by England, therefore it is a scrum five metres back, although you were playing advantage.’

Garces comes back: ‘So, no try? I cannot clearly hear you Glenn.’

Newman: ‘No try.’ Garces: ‘No try. I will come back for the penalty.’


The law book was simplified at the end of 2017 but this is still a grey area. The phrase ‘downward pressure’ — often quoted when it comes to grounding the ball — is not in the rules any more.

LAW 21.1b The ball can be grounded in-goal:

a) By holding it and touching the ground with it; or b) By pressing down on it with a hand or hands, arm or arms, or the front of the player’s body from waist to neck.

Anscombe expressed his displeasure at the decision, claiming the TMOs can be wrong


‘I felt some pressure of the ball on the ground, I thought that I got it down but the decision didn’t go our way. That was disappointing because it potentially would have changed the momentum, but ultimately it was still early on in the game and we had a lot of chances to fix it.

‘The TMOs don’t always get it right, which is frustrating but you can’t do much about that. We were confident once we saw the first replay, but whether there was a bit of a breakdown, there might have been.

‘We trust the TMO. You have to back the individual to use the replays and communicate well with the touch judges and the ref, then hopefully they get the majority of them right.’


Newman is from Auckland, New Zealand and began refereeing in 2003. He was also in charge for the Italy v England match but is not listed to be the TMO for any other NatWest 6 Nations matches.


The incident will be flagged up by the Welsh Rugby Union to World Rugby and the referees’ chief Alain Rolland.

In the past World Rugby have admitted in private to coaches that the wrong decision was made, but it is very rare for referees or TMOs to respond to questions about their decisions.