Wrong try decision cost England, says Strettle
Close call ... David Strettle of England crosses the try line, but the five points are not awarded. Photo: Getty Images
LONDON: England's David Strettle said officials should have given him the benefit of any doubt after he had a 'try' disallowed by the video referee in the closing seconds of a dramatic Six Nations loss to Wales.
The home side were trailing by seven points in front of a full-house at Twickenham here on Saturday when, with the last move of the match, Saracens wing Strettle went in at the corner under pressure from the Wales trio of Leigh Halfpenny, George North and Jonathan Davies.
Wales claim Triple Crown
Wales players celebrate victory with the Triple Crown. Photo: Getty Images
Given the pile of bodies, it was no surprise when referee Steve Walsh referred the decision of "try or no try" to Scottish television match official Iain Ramage.
There then followed a nailbiting several minutes before Ramage decided no try had been scored. Even if he had ruled in the hosts' favour, England would still have needed to have kicked the tricky conversion from out on the right touchline to draw the match.
As it was Wales, who scored the only try of the game minutes earlier through replacement Scott Williams, won 19-12 to take the Triple Crown and stay on course for a Grand Slam after seeing off an England team that had won both its previous two matches this tournament.
"I thought I had scored," said Strettle. "I thought when they flipped me on my back I had got downward pressure. When they showed it on the big screen it looked like it went down as well.
"I felt the ball touch the floor and then everybody jumps on top of you," he added. "You hope with the video referee that if it is indecisive that it would go with the attacking team. It is frustrating when things don't go your way."
England interim coach Stuart Lancaster was more diplomatic, saying of Ramage's call: "I couldn't control it. Games are lost not on one decision but on lots of things that happen in the course of the game. I don't want to dwell too much on that decision."
Meanwhile Wales boss Warren Gatland said he'd have had no problems if Ramage had given a try.
"If it had been awarded a try we wouldn't have complained. Toby (Flood) would still have had to kick a conversion to tie the game."
After scrappy wins away to Scotland and Italy, where they managed just a charged-down try in each from fly-half Charlie Hodgson, who didn't play against Wales because of a finger injury, this was England's first defeat in three games under Lancaster.
Yet in many ways it was their best performance, with Strettle having previously gone close when just failing to hold an intercepted pass and powerful centre Manu Tuilagi denied a try only by a brilliant last ditch tackle from Wales captain Sam Warburton, the man-of-the-match.
"We showed the public what we are about as a team," said Strettle. "We have been frustrated the last two weeks that we have not been able to show the public we can go and play rugby and we want to go and play rugby."