- France seal a narrow 16-20 Six Nations victory over Scotland at Murrayfield
- The hosts were denied a last-gasp win attempt because the ball was stopped.
- Replays appear to show Scotland punishing the ball over the line
Controversy dominated the post-match discussion of Scotland’s Six Nations defeat against France on Saturday, as the Murrayfield hosts were denied a try during the final play of the match.
Scotland ended up being beaten 16-20 by France in a tense second match of the annual tournament, but looked to have achieved victory at the death when they crossed the line.
A late break led by Scottish co-captain Finn Russell led to several periods of forward play which ended with Sam Skinner weaving his way through a group of French bodies.
Opposing players got under the ball to try to prevent it from falling to the turf and referee Nic Berry initially gave a “delay” decision which TMO ultimately refused to overturn.
Scotland looked destined for an easy defeat when France won a scrum in the dying embers of the match and defended the ball.
Scotland were denied a bid to win against France because the ball was deemed to have been “held”.
Scotland co-captain Finn Russell believed the ball had touched the line
But a lack of concentration allowed Russell to regain possession and give Scotland one last roll of the dice to steal what would have been a famous victory over the French.
Berry was close to playing and was quick to decide that the ball had been held, but decided to send the decision to TMO, where it would be analyzed in replays that would show the incident from different angles.
The tumult of bodies clambering to reach the ball made it difficult to get a clear image showing the entire ball, but one shot appears to show the ball is on the ground after slipping off the foot of a French defender.
The ball begins at the beginning of the repetitions resting on the ground, but is not stable and after rolling on one foot it moves towards the ground and appears to be on the line.
Optimism among Scottish players and fans on the pitch is beginning to grow as TMO and Berry continue to discuss whether the initial ‘no try’ decision should be overturned.
It was later decided that, because the ball could not be seen in its entirety, there was no conclusive evidence from the video assistant to overturn the ‘no try’ decision and the match ended with France claiming a controversial victory.
Paddy Power was convinced the ball had been in the ground and is now refunding lost bets that Scotland would beat France in the Six Nations.
Speaking to BBC Sport immediately after full-time, Scotland co-captain Russell fumed at the decision, saying: “I think it was a difficult second half. The whole game was a struggle.
Sam Skinner brought the ball to the defending France players and thought the ball had been penalized.
Scottish players celebrate an earlier attempt that kept them within striking distance of France.
Berry gave a holding call that was not overturned by TMO because there was no clear view that the ball was landed.
“France came out victorious tonight, but for me it was a try at the end. That’s not for me to decide, that’s for the referee to decide. That’s why he has the job.
“We have to accept this defeat and improve for England. We cannot let the referee decide what happens in a match, that is up to us to play better and make these matches a victory.
“The way we got back into the game and the way I think we scored shows the character we have.”
Scotland currently sit second in the Six Nations standings with five points from two games, with England, Ireland, Wales and Italy still to play.