Controversy of the day: Wales’ disallowed try
Wales coach Warren Gatland didn’t mince his words when he spoke after the match about the crucial moment in the first half when Gareth Anscombe was disallowed what looked like a legitimate try.
The Welsh full back seemed to ground the ball a milli-second before Anthony Watson, but after numerous replays the TMO Glenn Newman ruled no try.
As Gatland said after the match if the try had been awarded it could have changed the whole momentum of the match.
Gatland also rightfully pointed out that Mike Brown could have received a yellow card for a professional foul late in the match when Wales were on the attack – but both decisions went against the visitors.
In a game as tight and close as this crucial decisions like this went in the favour of England – and if they had gone the other way the result may have been different.
After the match England coach Eddie Jones grew increasingly indignant about opinions that Wales were denied a fair try.
“The TMO is there for a reason,” barked Jones. “He has all the time in the world to make his decision and he said no try.”
Of course if the decision went the other way you can be sure Jones would not have kept quiet.
Try of the Day : Stockdale’s second vs Italy
Jacob Stockdale’s second try for Ireland against Italy was as thrilling as it was telling.
The 21-year-old Ulster winger intercepted a loose Italian pass, of which there were many on the day, and pinned his ears back on a sixty-metre run to the line. Stockdale had one man to beat and a man looming up in support on the inside but Stockdale never had any doubts.
He executed a perfect in and away on Jayden Hayward then beat the Italian replacement for pace to touch down in the left corner.
Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton may be pulling the strings in the Ireland attack but they desperately need the power and pace of Stockdale out wide if they are to capitalize on the chance that may come their way as the tournament gets to the pointy end.
Right winger Keith Earls and full back Rob Kearney are quality finishers but they can’t bust the game open like Stockdale.
In the end this Six Nations may come down to the final five minutes of England and Ireland at Twickenham and Stockdale given the ball ten metres out with two men to beat.
With his natural ability and growing confidence, chances are Stockdale will get over the line and win it for Ireland.
Player of the Day : Gareth Anscombe (Wales)
With Dan Biggar and Rhys Priestland out injured, Wales were forced to call on their third choice fly-half, the Scarlets Rhys Patchell. Much of the talk before the match from the England side was that Patchell was not up to it and would “bottle” it when the heat really came on.
The 24-year-old was at fault for England’s first try when he failed to gather Danny Care’s high kick and he was swamped at times with ball in hand by a fast moving England back row, But he recovered well to put in the delicate cross-field kick that almost led to Gareth Anscombe’s try.
Patchell’s game lasted 55-minutes and it was when he was withdrawn that Wales looked at their most dangerous.
George North came on to the wing which saw Anscombe move in to the No10 role and the Cardiff Blues playmaker was electric.
Anscombe made a couple of long breaks that were very unlucky not to result in tries and his distribution and kicking out of hand were also dangerous.
This display, like Aaron Shingler, showed that a place must be found for Anscombe in the starting line up.
With Halfpenny back Gatland could do worse than to start the 26-year-old at No10 in Dublin against Ireland.
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