Neil Jenkins calls for video rulings in Lions matches

Neil Jenkins has urged referees to use video technology to stop marginal calls affecting the British and Irish Lions Test series.

Owen Farrell takes a penalty, watched by Lions kicking coach Neil Jenkin. Picture: Getty.

Kicking coach Jenkins remains adamant that Owen Farrell converted a penalty attempt during the 12-3 win over the Crusaders, despite the touch judges ruling out the attempt.

Farrell was nonplussed when the shot was chalked off, while Johnny Sexton urged referee Mathieu Raynal to check with the Television Match Official (TMO) to no avail.

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Former Lions stand-off Jenkins believes Wales were undone in a 17-16 defeat by South Africa at Rugby World Cup 2011, where a James Hook penalty that appeared successful was also ruled out.

“It was over; it was,” said Jenkins, of Farrell’s penalty shot that was ruled out against the Crusaders on Saturday.

“We were in behind it and it was over. Look, it’s incredibly hard to be a referee and a 

“If you’re standing directly underneath the posts you can’t tell me if that’s gone over or if it’s just crept in or not.

“It’s quite difficult to see if you’re standing quite literally underneath, so the referee has to take control there as well and if he’s unsure then maybe you do go to the TMO.

“But both Owen (Farrell) and I felt the kick was certainly over. It just crept in, but the decision’s made and that’s how it is, you’ve just got to get on with it.

“Well we did ask him (the referee to check with the TMO) and he didn’t want to know.

“I’ve had this scenario with Wales in the World Cup in 2011 against South Africa in Wellington. It was a similar type of kick on half with James Hook.As far as we were concerned that kick went over.

“Francois Steyn came off and he said to me, ‘Neil, the kick was over’.

“And this half-time in a massive World Cup game, a crucial game.

“At the end of the day we lost by a point so that kick mattered in hindsight, obviously. It’s one of those things, we’ve got to take it on the chin.

“If the officials feel like there’s an issue, is it a try, you go to the TMO. For kickers if it’s there or thereabouts I don’t see why it would be an issue to go to the TMO. That’s my view anyway.”

Farrell, Johnny Sexton and Leigh Halfpenny will all be itching to take the goal-kicking reins for the three-Test series against the All Blacks.

The Lions are likely to field a starting line-up approaching something like their Test XV for Saturday’s Maori All Blacks clash in Rotorua.

Jenkins admitted the Lions coaches have a tough choice in opting for a frontline goal-kicker – but insisted that call will only be made following team selection. “It depends on who’s in the team firstly, but across the board we’re pretty strong in that respect,” said Jenkins.

“We’ve got Owen, Leigh, Johnny, Dan (Biggar) and Greig (Laidlaw), and obviously Elliot (Daly) as the long-ranger as well.

“It’s not going to be easy but selection is firstly more important with who’s playing, and then kicker selection comes from that.

“There’ll be a discussion between all the coaches so whoever we feel, if there is more than one playing in the team, someone’s probably going to be disappointed.

“There was disappointment four years ago with Johnny as Leigh was kicking and it’s not an easy conversation.

“I have no doubt that whoever kicks this series will be very strong. So we’ll have a very good kicker.”

Halfpenny has endured a rough 18 months of knee problems, but Jenkins insisted the Wales full-back is now hitting top form at the right time.

“He was in fantastic form leading up to the World Cup before he got injured and he’s obviously had a year out and done a lot of work to get back,” said Jenkins.

“Coming back in the autumn he probably wasn’t anywhere near where he was prior to the injury.

“But he’s done a huge amount of work in that period of time since then, and he’s not far away from being what he was four years ago.

“There’s no doubt that he can get back to being one of the best in the world.”