SRU appeals after referee sin-bins the wrong Lamont

THE SRU is to challenge the yellow card handed to Sean Lamont after the latest in a series of championship blunders by match officials.

Scotland's RBS Six Nations Championship campaign started with Donal Courtney, the Irish referee, deciding Jonny Wilkinson had touched down a try when it was clear to all and sundry at Twickenham and watching on television that England's stand-off had touched the ground out of play with his toe before managing to ground the ball in the corner.

Courtney was the television match official (TMO), so had the benefit of several TV angles, but still told Marius Jonker, the match referee, to award the try. He struck again on Saturday when as touch judge he informed Craig Joubert, the South African referee, that Sean Lamont had failed to use his arms in flooring David Marty on the hour-mark, and deserved a yellow card.

In fact, Rory Lamont, Sean's brother, had made the tackle in question, having replaced Dan Parks seven minutes earlier, with Chris Paterson moving to stand-off. Sean had been lying flat out clutching his head having been unnecessarily thrown to the ground in touch by Clement Poitrenaud when the referee asked to speak to him.

Rory admitted afterwards: "That was bizarre. How he [Courtney] could not see who it was, standing just a few feet away, I have no idea. I mean, I was wearing white boots, my brother has dyed hair - people say we look alike, but that's a bit much. Touch judges can have a hard time out there, and they have no replays, but I have to say I was quite happy at not having to go off after only just coming on. It was a difficult enough game to get into without that happening. I could have put my hand up to it, but it wouldn't have made any difference because everyone tried to tell the ref he'd got it wrong and he said he'd made the decision and that was that."

Sean said: "You saw my reaction on the pitch; I was stunned. I had a pretty sore head and how he thought I could go from the big tackle to on the floor ten metres away in a second I don't know. But, it's just one of those things - there was nothing I could do at the time. I'm the big brother, I'll take the rap.

"We are looking to get the card rescinded now though. I want it wiped from my record because, obviously, it was the wrong man, and I'm sure it will be."

Jon Davis, the Six Nations disciplinary officer, confirmed that there was scope for the card to be withdrawn provided a letter of appeal is lodged with him before this evening.

Rory is one of the players to have pushed himself into World Cup contention despite the poor results in this tournament, but the 24-year-old is also one of several leaving Scotland, having agreed a two-year deal with Sale. "This is the level of rugby I want to be playing at and I know I have to get better," he explained.

"I feel that even if I'm not in the Scotland team there's a better chance of me improving every week at a club like Sale with the experienced internationalists there.

"It was undoubtedly the hardest decision I've ever had to make because Glasgow gave me the opportunity to be a professional rugby player, and the coach Sean Lineen and the players there have helped me reach this level.

"I will always appreciate that. But I feel I need another challenge now, particularly in the full-back position which I feel is my best, and I believe I will get that at Sale."