Gareth Anscombe looking to forget disallowed try
Welsh fullback looked to have grounded a perfect try against England but it was ruled out
Gareth Anscombe is adamant that he should have been awarded a first half try but does not believe the failure of the television match official, Glenn Newman, to award it was the difference between victory and defeat for Wales.
Anscombe appeared to have beaten Anthony Watson to the bounce in the 24th minute but Newman ruled otherwise to deny Wales a potential seven points. As the referee, Jérôme Garcès, had been playing advantage, they had a penalty under the posts which Rhys Patchell kicked. It meant a potential loss of four points and England defeated them by six.
“I thought I had got the ball down, but the decision didn’t go our way,” said Anscombe, who started the match as a late replacement for the injured Leigh Halfpenny at fullback and finished at outhalf. “It was disappointing because it could have changed the momentum, but it was early in the game and we had chances to fix it.
“The TMOs do not always get it right, which is frustrating, but you cannot do much about it. We were confident when we saw the first replay and started jogging back to our own half. It would have been nice to have had my first Test try but it was not to be and ultimately we paid for a rough start.”
Warren Gatland, the Wales head coach, said of Newman’s decision: “He just made a bad call, didn’t he? It will be interesting to chat with him to see what his explanation is. The mood in the changing room after the match was not down at all. We were pleased at how strongly we finished the game, and considering we think we are 20, 25 per cent off being as fit and as sharp as we will be by the World Cup, we are in a pretty good place.”
Wales will have Liam Williams and George North, who came on as a second half replacement, fit for selection for the match against Ireland in Dublin on February 24th. Their returns are timely with Halfpenny a doubt because of the foot infection he picked up two days before the match against England.
Anscombe said: “I knew I was playing on Friday morning. It was nerveracking in the sense that I had not prepared for it, but I sat down with Leigh and knew what was expected. It was a rollercoaster 24 hours but it was good to get out there and try and have an impact on the game. We are disappointed not to have won, but we can be proud of the way we played in the second half.”
Wales conceded two tries in the opening 19 minutes when they tried to play an expansive game in wet conditions but Gatland did not put that down to barbs from his opposite number, England’s Eddie Jones, in the buildup when he accused them of being cocky and questioned their experience and bottle. “We just laughed it off,” he said.
“Players at this level have got to be prepared for that sort of stuff. It was a good experience for them. We probably tried to shift the ball a bit too much in the first half, but in the second the weather got better, some of their players started to tire and we opened up.”