With three matches done in the 2011 Six Nations so far, there has been some criticism aimed at the consistency of the refereeing.
In England’s match against France there were two marginal decision that disallowed tries. On review, which modern television allows (and producers love to replay) it was clear that both were probably wrong.
But what about Scotland? Plucky in France and poor against Wales, they showed grit and determination against their Irish opposition. A total penalty count of 4 against 12 (in Scotland’s favour) might have some scratching their heads as to why the only yellow card when against Scotland?
Nigel Owens had a difficult afternoon with the scrums (which have been consistently poor at international level for several years) and warned both teams that the next deliberate collapse would be severely punished. Allan Jacobsen duly obliged and turned almost 90 degrees to bore in on the hooker. Yellow Card and scrum sorted.
The fact that Ireland committed 3 times the number of offences doesn’t mean that they should have automatic yellow cards. Their fouls were for a variety of issues spread across the entire match, in which they also crafted 3 well worked tries – something the Scots could not manage with their one-dimensional tactics.
Yes – referees make mistakes or see things differently from players. But rugby is a momentum game, if you can’t get onto the front foot and create good chances then you need to do some navel gazing rather than horizon scanning for the reason why you lost.