BRIAN O’DRISCOLL was fuming about Mike Phillips’s controversial 50th-minute try in Wales’ 19-13 win over Ireland.
Phillips was sent on his way over the try-line following a quick throw-in from Matthew Rees – but replays clearly showed that the Wales captain had used a different ball to the one kicked into touch because the original one had landed near the crowd and that the ball he used was also touched by a ballboy.
Jonathan Kaplan consulted with touchjudge Peter Allan and when given the thumbs up he awarded the try. Paul O’Connell clearly indicated for the referee to go to the TMO but he couldn’t have actually adjudicated on the lineout ball – TMOs can only rule on events in the act of scoring.
Still, Ireland captain O’Driscoll was not happy with the decision. He said: “Everyone’s human and you get wrong calls all the time, but certain ones are unforgivable. I’d want to cover all my bases if I was him.
“I didn’t see it myself but some of the boys were saying that someone had touched it so I took their word for it and I tried to relay that to Jonathan Kaplan, but he was having none of it. The touchjudge gave the call and before I could say anything the try was awarded. I tried to say subsequently that the video replays showed the ball had been touched but he shrugged it off.
“It’s extremely frustrating that a simple error like that can have a huge bearing on the game. That was seven points and we lost by six.”
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Ireland are likely to use the frustration of this defeat to fire the up for next weekend’s showdown with England in Dublin and despite mixed fortunes in the championship to date, O’Driscoll hit back at anyone who suggests they have no hope of seeing off Martin Johnson’s side.
“They have to think again. These people have obviously never seen an Ireland-England game and don’t know what it means to the Irish public and the Irish team. There’s plenty of rugby left in this side.”