Jones plays dead bat to con­tro­ver­sial off­side call

Coach says team ‘will take a lot’ from per­for­mance

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - Mick Cleary

Eng­land re­fused to be drawn into the tele­vi­sion match official con­tro­versy in which a po­ten­tially match-win­ning try by Sam Un­der­hill five min­utes from time was ruled out for off­side, en­abling New Zealand to hold on for a 16-15 vic­tory at Twick­en­ham.

South African TMO Mar­ius Jonker de­cided that Court­ney Lawes was off­side when charg­ing down New Zealand scrum-half TJ Per­e­nara.

“Some­times the game loves you, some­time the game doesn’t love you,” said Eng­land head coach Ed­die Jones. “If the TMO can’t make the right de­ci­sion with 10 re­plays then who can? You have got to ac­cept that if you stay in the fight long enough, the game will love you. We’re pre­pared to stay in the fight so we will get some love fur­ther down the track, don’t worry.”

Not sur­pris­ingly, New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen thought it was a good call. “There is no doubt he was off­side,” said Hansen. “He was just about in the half-back’s back pocket. What was go­ing through my mind was, are they go­ing to be brave enough to make the de­ci­sion? And they were.”

Jones took heart from the con­vic­tion and en­ergy of his side’s per­for­mance. “We’re ob­vi­ously dev­as­tated but we’ll take a lot from that,” said Jones. “We had op­por­tu­ni­ties to win. We didn’t take them, they did, so they de­served to win. It was a re­ally good step for­ward be­cause you bench­mark your­self against New Zealand.

“We have got to fix things and if we do that we are on the way to be­ing the best in the world, which we al­ways set out to be. New Zealand couldn’t break us. In fact, we fin­ished stronger. If we’d kept go­ing for an­other five min­utes, we would’ve got them.”

Jones had no is­sue with his team twice opt­ing to go for a penalty line-out rather than kick for goal in the lat­ter stages. “The play­ers feel the game. We don’t feel the game, we see the game. Oth­er­wise, why do we want lead­ers in the team?” he said.

“We felt we had the as­cen­dancy at the time,” said Owen Far­rell, cap­tain on the field. “Our maul had gone very well in the first half and our boys were itch­ing to have a crack at them.”

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