Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has questioned the process followed by the officials after they red carded Zander Fagerson in the narrow defeat to Wales.
Townsend does not believe enough angles of the incident, in which the prop connects with opponent Wyn Jones’s face during a ruck clear out, were shown to referee Matthew Carley and his on-field assistants Pascal Gauzere and Andrea Piardi.
When producing replays of the incident, TMO Karl Dickson asked Carley if he saw any mitigating factors, such as Jones’s late movement upwards. If Carley had agreed Fagerson could have been shown a yellow instead and been sin binned for ten minutes rather than reducing Scotland to 14 men for the rest of the match.
World Rugby has clamped down on contact to players’ heads due to ongoing worries over brain injuries suffered by rugby players.
But Townsend was unconvinced his player merited the red card.
He said: “I didn’t think [the referee and the TMO] had much of a discussion. I didn’t think they showed enough of the angles.
“They only showed one slow motion angle to begin with and it took ages to find another one.
“The TMO did say ‘are you sure because of the late movement there is no mitigation there?’ but I though the whole process could have been much better.
“It is obviously very serious when someone gets a red card and I just felt we didn’t show the right angles or have the proper discussion.
“There was a discussion between the [on-field] team of three when they were waiting for angles and they seemed to make their mind up then.
“We get on with whatever decision the referee has made and there is nothing we can do about it now.”
Townsend replied emphatically when asked if he believed Scotland had thrown away a chance to win back-to-back Six Nations games and his captain Stuart Hogg rued the match that got away.
Scotland had opened up a 14 point cushion in the first half and missed opportunities to stretch away from Wales before the red card and comeback from the visitors.
Hogg, who scored two tries in an inspirational performance from full back, said: “We are bitterly disappointed. We wanted to express ourselves and take the game to Wales and we did that for large periods of the game.
“Just a few moments didn’t quite go to plan.
“Giving away penalties is one thing but conceding three or four on the bounce is unacceptable and in international rugby it is going to cost you.
“We lack at times a clinical edge. We can sit here and pick out all the negatives if we want but I am proud of the effort.
“There is a huge amount of character in this squad. Yes, it hurts, and rightly so, but we can’t dwell on it too much.
“We will learn from it, we will move on and we will make sure we are in the best place possible.”
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