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11th Sep 2023

Alun Wyn Jones praised for honest analysis of referee’s performance during Wales-Fiji

Niall McIntyre

English referee Matthew Carley has been in the eye-of-the-storm for his performance during Wales’ 32-26 Rugby World Cup Pool C victory over Fiji.

Despite a number of try-line infringements, Wales somehow escaped sanction during an extended period of second half pressure from Fiji.

Camped on their own line, it was desperation station for Warren Gatland’s side but, in the words of their most-capped-player Alun Wyn Jones, they ‘dodged a bullet’ and went onto win the game.

Carley’s controversial calls came up for discussion on Virgin Media’s analysis of the game, with host Joe Molloy and his guests Andrew Trimble and Rob Kearney sensing that Wales got away with one.

“Fiji had lots of pressure in the 22, there were four Welsh infringements and Matthew Carley says ‘lads I’m warning you, I’m warning you,’ he kept warning them,” said Molloy.

“There were four (penalties) in four minutes, and then he warned them.”

“And then the first (Fiji infringement), maybe it was more of a professional foul perhaps, was a yellow card, Wales scored their try, that felt somehow unfair,” he said.

“It did feel wrong,” said Andrew Trimble.

Former Ireland full back Rob Kearney claimed  that Carley wouldn’t have treated Fiji with the same leniency on their line.

“I don’t think he’s…I may be wrong and again, I’ve no way of proving this, but I don’t think that Fiji would get the same treatment on their line,” he said.

“You give away four penalties and on the fourth one ‘okay boys, that’s your warning now…”

Alun Wyn Jones, meanwhile, agreed that his country were ‘lucky’ to get away without a card, with the former Welsh and Lions captain praised for his sporting take on the topic.

“What we didn’t get was a team warning, and that’s what you usually get whether it’s offside or an infringement, and he didn’t even say that on the fourth, so I think we definitely dodged a bullet.

“Because I think, the amount of time, cumulatively in both halves, they spent in the 22…so I was surprised, don’t get me wrong, you get the luck of the draw sometimes, the bounce of the ball, but I think we were lucky we didn’t get a card at that point.”

Wyn Jones, who retired earlier from Wales in the year, explained earlier in the show that it was a case of ‘plans changing’ which kept him away from a fifth World Cup.

“Every train rolls on.

“Plans change, I won’t go into the details. You gotta keep telling yourself everything happens for a reason.”

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