A snapshot of Sam Skinner’s late try that never was suggests that Scotland should have notched a dramatic Six Nations victory over France at Murrayfield on Saturday. As it happened, match officials were unable to establish a camera angle clear enough to prove that Skinner had grounded the ball, resigning the Scots to a disheartening 20-16 defeat.
A lengthy TMO review did not yield the result Scotland wanted, much to the bemusement of pundits and fans watching on. The ball initially appeared to be held up by a player’s boot, before the replay was nudged on to show that it slid back and seemingly touched the ground.
F1 legend and proud Scot David Coulthard then posted a picture on social media of a convincing angle to suggest Gregor Townsend’s side were extremely unfortunate, captioned: “Any lower to the ground and I would need to ask [Australian driver] Mark Webber to return the ball!”
Spectators at Murrayfield cheered on excitedly when replays suggested the try was about to be given, but the joyful chorus was drowned out by boos when referee Nic Berry and his team of officials concluded there was not enough evidence to award it.
“We were celebrating in the coaches box,” said Scotland boss Townsend. “We could hear the TMO’s conversation with the referee, saying ‘the ball was on foot then the ball was down’ and then he changes his mind and says ‘stick with the on-field decision’.
“I don’t know what you can say. From a coaching perspective, you’ve got to win the game and not put it in the hands of TMOs and referees and that is what we will work on.
A cagey second period then saw France’s Louis Bielle-Biarrey produce the decisive score. Les Bleus bounced back by the skin of their teeth after losing at home to Ireland in their Six Nations opener.
Scotland, meanwhile, have won one and lost one, with Saturday’s agony following a tight 27-26 win in Wales last weekend.