Six Nations: Rowntree seeks referee ‘clarification’

England forwards coach Graham Rowntree is “seeking clarification” from the International Rugby Board over the performance of referee Steve Walsh in Saturday’s 30-3 defeat by Wales.

Rowntree is “annoyed” by the way Walsh handled the scrum and the breakdown, key areas which Wales dominated as they stormed to a record victory and the RBS Six Nations title. Wales are said to have admitted privately that they collapsed the scrum on six occasions but it was England who were penalised. England also have issues with the key turnover which led to Alex Cuthbert’s first try.

Rowntree suggested the message he received in his pre-match meeting with Walsh was not followed through into the game and he wants to ask the IRB’s referee’s chief Joel Jutge why.

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“I sat up on Saturday night and watched the game again forensically,” said Rowntree. “I’m annoyed at a lot of the outcomes and I will be speaking to the IRB to get some clarification about it. With Joel Jutge now in charge of the IRB referees, he’s very keen for an open forum and a very honest review process from the coaches and the referees. In most of the games I’ve submitted glowing reports on referees but, on this occasion, we were frustrated by a lot of the outcomes and I will be speaking to Joel to get some clarification [about the] breakdown and scrum.

“I spoke to Steve after the game. We both agreed that we would go away and have a look at the game again. Having watched it, I need clarification. A lot of those decisions were big, game momentum-changing decisions.”

England will also raise the turnover won by Wales replacement Ken Owens on Tom Wood, which led directly to Cuthbert’s first try.

“There was then a turnover at the breakdown – which we still need clarification on – and that was the tipping point in the game,” Lancaster said.