Gatland: Officials have admitted making wrong decisions in Wales win

Wales boss Warren Gatland reveals World Rugby have admitted the match officials made several wrong decisions in Rugby World Cup victory over Fiji

  • Wales unhappy with high tackle on Gareth Davies by Selestino Ravutaumada
  • Referee should have shown Wales more than one yellow card in frantic finale
  • Warren Gatland’s detailed review into Fiji win has focused on final 10 minutes 
  • Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results

Warren Gatland has revealed World Rugby admitted to him and his Wales team several decisions made against them in their thrilling win over Fiji were wrong.

The officiating at the World Cup in France has been a big talking point in the tournament so far, including in Wales’ Pool C opener.

It was widely agreed referee Matthew Carley should have shown Gatland’s side more than one yellow card in a dramatic finale with Fiji in Bordeaux as they came under intense late pressure.

The consistency of decision making surrounding head contact incidents has also been called into question after England’s Tom Curry was banned for two games. Meanwhile, South Africa centre Jesse Kriel escaped any sanction for a similar incident to Curry’s in his side’s win over Scotland.

‘There’s a lot been said about us in terms of how unlucky Fiji were, but we’ve seen a number of clips ourselves to say that things were missed in the game too,’ Gatland said. ‘We sent a lot of clips in ourselves. We got clarity on that. The referees came back to us on those and were in agreement with a lot of things we’d sent in.’

Wales were unhappy with the high tackle on Gareth Davies by Selestino Ravutaumada 

Ref Matthew Carley should have shown Wales more than one yellow card in frantic finale

Gatland didn’t want to go into specifics when asked what incidents World Rugby had said they had got wrong. One may well have been a high tackle on Gareth Davies from Selestino Ravutaumada at the end of the first half that briefly forced the Wales scrum-half off the field for a head injury assessment.

It is close to certain the decision making of referees in France will continue to be a hot topic throughout the rest of this World Cup with more red cards and bans likely.

It is also clear there is frustration among coaches and players over refereeing inconsistency as well as for fans too who have shared their views on social media.

World Rugby believe the use of freeze-frame footage both online and by television broadcasters isn’t helping the matter.

But Wales and Gatland have moved on from the controversial ending to the Fiji game knowing the end result was a bonus-point win.

Wales have made 13 changes to their starting side for Portugal in Nice on Saturday with only Louis Rees-Zammit and No 8 Taulupe Faletau retaining their places.

Gatland’s side should – barring a massive upset – get five points against Portugal. Such a scenario would leave them with a perfect record from two games.

‘It’s about one game at a time,’ Gatland said. ‘We’ve always been confident in the past about World Cups. We think we have done well in previous World Cups and would like to get to a final of a World Cup. I stated beforehand don’t write us off and that this team is capable of doing something special. I still believe that.

‘The first priority is to be a really tough team to beat and if we do that and we don’t pick up too many injuries, then there’s no reason why we can’t continue to progress a long way into this tournament. That’s the plan for us.’

Gatland’s detailed review into the Fiji win focused on the final 10 minutes where Wales conceded two tries and went from 32-14 in front to nearly snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Wales and Warren Gatland have moved on from the controversial ending to the Fiji game 

Louis Rees-Zammit is one of only two players who keep their places after victory in Bordeaux

‘As a group of players it’s a learning experience. You can’t coach experience,’ Gatland said, as the countdown to Portugal intensified. 

‘You have got to sometimes go through that and learn that as players. It took us a number of years in my previous reign with Wales. In 2018 and 2019 our game management was outstanding.

‘Even when we were behind we did not panic and believed we were going to win. That process can take a bit of time and it wasn’t the worst thing to experience that last Sunday.’

After what is expected to be a straightforward win over Portugal, Wales face Eddie Jones’ Australia in Lyon in a clash which could well decide who tops Pool C. 

Wales team to face Portugal

Leigh Halfpenny; Louis Rees-Zammit, Mason Grady, Johnny Williams, Rio Dyer; Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams; Nicky Smith, Dewi Lake (capt), Dillon Lewis, Christ Tshiunza, Dafydd Jenkins, Dan Lydiate, Tommy Reffell, Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: Ryan Elias, Corey Domachowski, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Taine Basham, Gareth Davies, Sam Costelow, Josh Adams

Kick-off: 4.45pm, Saturday, Nice

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