Ireland thankful tries ruled out for Furlong and Henshaw didn’t come back to haunt them

Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong and centre Robbie Henshaw were both denied second half tries by the officiating crew led by Matthew Carley

Well, maybe there were at least two talking points in this game and not just one. They were linked to each other and about 12 minutes apart in the second half. Both of the incidents were refereeing decisions by the RFU’s Matthew Carley that went against Ireland and could have given the match an entirely different complexion.

To say they were decisions by Carley is probably an over-emphasis on the referee’s influence on the outcomes, because his assistant Karl Dickson, also RFU, was pivotal to the first disallowed try and the South African TMO, Marius Jonker, was an engaged consultant in both.

In the first instance as Ireland has Scotland under huge pressure, Tadhg Furlong bumps up to within a yard from the try line near the right goalpost. He is stopped or slowed but is able to generate more momentum forwards into Scotland’s captain and outhalf, Finn Russell, defending on the Scotland line.

Scotland prop Zander Fagerson comes around the back of the post and also dives into Furlong, hitting the Irish props forearm with his leading hand. That appears to dislodge the ball although some fingers and part of Furlong’s hand appear to remain in touch with the ball on grounding. Depending on the angle, Furlong touches down and walks away content, even though the ball had moved in this hand.


Dickson then comes in from the sideline to advise ‘no try’ to Carley, who relays the on-field decision as being no try. The TMO’s view is Furlong loses control of the ball in the infield. While they are watching the replays, Jack Crowley animates to the referee that there was also head-to-head contact between Furlong and Russell. The Irish outhalf is ignored by Carley and the try is not given.

On 64 minutes, Robbie Henshaw then comes into play when he uses every sinew to muscle over the Scotland line again. Carley’s initial on-field decision is no try as the hand of Scotland replacement Cameron Redpath appears to slip underneath, although, on another angle the point of the ball also looks to have been grounded. Carley, after reviewing all the available angles, sticks with his decision and another tight try decision goes against the home side.

The score at that stage of the match was 10-6 and although Ireland had turned the match around in the second half and were pushing hard to score, the two calls in favour of Scotland left Ireland a little nervy and Scotland believing they could get back into the match. A couple of minutes later, when Irish prop Andrew Porter propelled himself into a line of Scotland bodies and emerged smiling and with blood running down his face, the disallowed tries didn’t seem to matter.

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