Warren Gatland complained about a TMO's "terrible mistake" in the Six Nations and World Rugby compounded the situation — but the Wales coach should let his disapproval drift back six months to Eden Park.

The Lions had drawn the test series with the All Blacks after persuading referee Romaine Poite to overturn a late penalty for offside and deny Beauden Barrett a handy chance for victory.

"It comes in swings and roundabouts," Gatland said, "you get calls that go for you and calls that go against you."

All that c'est la vie feedback got the boot after Wales lost a first half verdict that Gareth Anscombe had scored and Gatland seized on that decision from Kiwi TMO Glenn Newman for his side's 12-6 defeat rather than their failure to crack England in the remaining 57 minutes.

Advertisement

Read more:
Super Rugby stars like you've never seen them before

It's enough to make you think there was some merit in the red nose caricature of Gatland that provoked such annoyance on the Lions' visit.

Certainly World Rugby should wear a dunce's hat after referees' boss Alain Rolland got on the blower to Gatland to say Anscombe should have been awarded the try. His organisation then issued a statement confirming the content of that conversation.

Certainly World Rugby should wear a dunce's hat after referees' boss Alain Rolland got on the blower to Gatland to say Anscombe should have been awarded the try.

SHARE THIS QUOTE:

That's as misguided as New Zealand Rugby's decision to set up an official grievance service where callers can register complaints about rugby players' behaviour they feel is unacceptable, inappropriate or objectionable. It's an invitation for social media sleuths, the vengeful or those who are anti-rugby to unfurl their grievance lists.

Warren Gatland, the Wales head coach looks on during the NatWest Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland. Photo / AP
Warren Gatland, the Wales head coach looks on during the NatWest Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland. Photo / AP

Players are warned repeatedly about the misbehaving and if some of that spills over to the attention of the public or police then they like any other person should wear the consequences. Offering an open line for complaints is an invitation for vexatious and frivolous criticism which then has to be assessed by a senior lawyer.

When World Rugby censured Newman in public, the governing body and Rolland opened themselves up to a torrent of questions about decisions from referees and the touchline assessments from his assistants.

In-goal verdicts are an influential part of the game but so are decisions referees make throughout a game. They make judgments on the run and many can be debated in a game which allows advantage.

If World Rugby's inquiry and support for Wales was consistent, they'd need another company to deal with the 2007 RWC quarter-final where the sideline silence and the work of Wayne Barnes provoked All Black coach Graham Henry's claims about a mass of unpunished offences.

Making retrospective judgments in public as World Rugby and Rolland did, weakens the reputation of referees and highlights their predicament as one set of eyeballs against a multitude of angles and slow-motion assessments from high-powered cameras.

Rugby is running the risk of sinking into the blame game. Tests have been delayed but never replayed and World Rugby should remind themselves that fulltime scores are only altered by hooligans and keyboard vandals.

Another thing that won't change is fans debating the rights and injustices of refereeing decisions, the colourful third half of the game when emotions rise as pints are drowned in a zone authorities should avoid.