Wales coach Warren Gatland has suggested that referee Wayne Barnes is partly to blame for his team’s 30-26 loss to the Wallabies at the Millennium Stadium. The visitors scored a try through Joe Tomane that Gatland said shouldn’t have been allowed.
The Autumn Internationals concluded with a brilliant game of rugby that thrilled from start to finish in Cardiff. George North scored within a few minutes to set the tone, but the Wallabies came back and with Quade Cooper looking back to his best, they stretched their lead and looked out of sight.
Cooper, playing his 50th Test, was quite controversially yellow carded for what Barnes deemed to be an early tackle, but Australia held on for the win despite plenty of pressure from the Welsh.
An unbelievable statistic from the match is that there was not a single scrum in the first half.
Barnes has come under fire though, particularly for the decision to allow the Tomane try from a flat Israel Folau pass. He sought the help of the TMO, but after watching it on the big screen himself, ruled that it wasn’t clear and obviously forward (hands not travelling forward), so gave it.
Gatland suggested that if it were New Zealand played, Barnes wouldn’t have made the call. “It looked forward to me. In games as close as this you need things like that to go your way.
“The referee made the decision himself, without the TMO. I doubt he would have made that decision himself if it was the All Blacks playing.”
Gatland added that he hadn’t spoken to Barnes about it, as it wasn’t going to change the result. He also hinted that when Cooper was yellow carded, it could have been a penalty try.
As for the Tomane try, Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie said: “We’ve had five or six of those denied during the year. As far as I know, the pass has come out of the hands backwards and that’s it.
“I think there has been a lot of discussion in the refereeing group and from what I saw that’s exactly the way they adjudicated that, so that the circumstances around that are quite clear.”
Despite being rated by some as the best team in the Northen Hemisphere, this was Wales’ ninth loss in succession to the Wallabies, who themselves haven’t had the best of years but appear to be on an upward curve after a satisfying overseas tour where they only lost once, to England.