Eddie Jones believes Pascal Gauzere should be shown a yellow card for allowing George North’s try in England‘s defeat by Wales on Saturday even though the French referee acted within the laws.
Gauzere let Dan Biggar take a quick tap penalty that led to North claiming the crucial score as Warren Gatland’s men avenged their defeat at Twickenham six days earlier through a 13-6 victory in Cardiff.
England were expecting Gauzere to wait for the sin-binned Anthony Watson to leave the pitch as punishment for a deliberate knock-on before allowing Wales to restart play.
However, there is no law requiring the referee to pause the game until the carded player is off the field.
When asked if Gauzere should have waited, England head coach Jones replied: “I think we all thought that was the law. So maybe the yellow card should have gone to the referee.
“It is what it is. We had to cope with whatever he decided was right. And if he wants a variation of the law, we’ve got to be good enough to cope with it.
“It’s not worth going into it because I don’t want that to be the headline of the game. It happened, we had to cope with it, didn’t cope with it, and they scored their winning try. So be it.”
Jones also resumed an attack on World Rugby that began incoherently at Twickenham last Sunday when he turned on referee Mathieu Raynal, then exonerated him, before criticising a red card for dangerous play shown to New Zealand 24 hours earlier.
The Australian was part of a panel that in 2016 advised World Rugby what measures should be taken as part of a zero-tolerance policy to reckless and accidental head contact.
“You’re not allowed to comment on referees. World Rugby are like Big Brother, they have facial recognition everywhere, you say one word and you’re in trouble,” he said.
England were ambushed at a time when Ben Youngs was standing on the sideline waiting to replace Willi Heinz, who had already departed for a head injury assessment, reducing them to 13 men.
They were caught unaware as they gathered in a huddle in expectation that Watson must first leave the pitch, but captain George Ford at least recognised they were at fault.
“We were trying to discuss what to do with the next 10 minutes with the yellow card with Anthony off the field. It’s something we have to anticipate better,” Ford said.
“I’m not too sure what was going on, on the sidelines, but it’s a good reminder for us as it’s seven points and ultimately that was the difference between the teams. We need to be on our toes a bit better.”
The theme of never losing eyes on the opposition was taken up by Youngs.
“It’s happened here and I dare say something like that will not happen again. It’s one of those things,” the Lions scrum-half said.
“There’s nothing as players that you can do about that except take the one lesson which is don’t switch off when there’s a penalty.
“As long as it’s ironed out and doesn’t happen in the future, I’m sure it will be fine.”
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