All Blacks vs England: UK media reacts to Sam Underhill's disallowed try

  • 11/11/2018

A disallowed try to England's Sam Underhill is the main talking point following the All Blacks' come-from-behind 16-15 win at Twickenham on Sunday (NZ time).

England thought they had won the match when Underhill crossed the line five minutes from time only for TMO Marius Jonker to rule that Courtney Lawes had been offside before charging down the clearance kick that sent him through.

The marginal call has divided fans and media.

Here's a selection of perspectives from British media after the match:

Stephen Jones, The Times


"England had the victory they deserved snatched away from them in the dying moments when Marius Jonker, the television match official, ruled out what would have been a sensational winning try by Sam Underhill, after Courtney Lawes had charged down a kick by TJ Perenara and completely bamboozled Beauden Barrett to score.

Sam Underhill runs past Beauden Barrett.
Sam Underhill runs past Beauden Barrett. Photo credit: Getty

"The referee awarded the try which means that any decision by the television match official must prove a clear and obvious infringement. The replay clearly showed Lawes onside, with Perenara taking an age with his clearing kick. There was nothing clear and obvious whatsoever and the referee really should have taken charge.

"New Zealand played out time to preserve their one-point lead in a match, which, although it did not finish in England's favour, ended any aura of infallibility concerning New Zealand in the heads of Dylan Hartley and his team."

Paul Rees, The Guardian


"Another one-point game here tilted by a referee after reviewing an incident.

"England held on against the Springboks last week after an Owen Farrell challenge was deemed to have been within the laws, but a South African television match official, Marius Jonker, scratched Sam Underhill’s try five minutes from the end after ruling that Courtney Lawes had been offside when charging down a kick.

"There have been more popular calls made here and boos resounded after the final whistle, but this was a proper test match played in demanding conditions that showed the recovery powers of New Zealand and the resources of England.

"Jerome Garces, reviewed the play to check if Lawes was onside when Perenara picked up the ball. The law required the England forward to have been behind the England player at the back of the ruck. Replays showed he was marginally in front of Harry Williams and, again, a match here swivelled on a late review decision."

Mick Cleary, The Telegraph


"So close. So gut-wrenching. Yet also promising and uplifting even if England came up short. Eddie Jones implored his men to be directors of the movie, not bit-part extras.

"The England head coach got what he wanted. It was the movie that Twickenham wanted, too, a thriller that could have been scripted by Alfred Hitchcock and even if it left them bereft when a hair-line call by TMO Marius Jonker denied them what looked to be a legitimate, match-winning score from Sam Underhill, they had great value for money.

Courtney Lawes charges down TJ Perenara's kick.
Courtney Lawes charges down TJ Perenara's kick. Photo credit: Getty

"The call went against Courtney Lawes for offside as he blocked a kick by TJ Perenara on the ten metre line. It looked a tight decision, too tight for the circumstances and England had every right to feel aggrieved.  

"The clock ticked, the crowd fidgeted and fretted. On came the subs, up went the tension. Then came the TMO intervention. It was a real chocker for all those in white. No wonder the boos rang out at the final whistle."

Jack de Menezes, The Independent

"Two early tries from Chris Ashton and Dylan Hartley, plus five points from the boot of Owen Farrell, put England 15-0 up in just 24 minutes as they threatened to pull off a second upset victory in as many weeks. But New Zealand, having looked a shadow of their usual selves, eventually fought back as Damian McKenzie and Beauden Barrett cut the deficit, and it was the latter’s drop-goal and penalty that ultimately secured the All Blacks a fifth consecutive victory over England.

"It proved a highly contentious decision that will debated just as hard, if not harder, than last week’s, but it should not be lost that England are proving themselves a match for the best teams the world has to offer."

Tom Fordyce, BBC

"England hung in the contest in dreadful conditions, and with five minutes to go celebrated as Underhill profited from a Courtney Lawes charge-down to dive into the corner.

But television replays showed that Lawes had been fractionally offside, and the chance of only a second win over the world champions in 15 years had gone.

It was a wonderful, relentless game, with errors everywhere but the pace unrelenting, and while Eddie Jones' men were devastated at the end, it was a performance from an injury-hit side to give heart with the World Cup less than a year away."

Will Macpherson, Evening Standard


"Seven days ago, England won a game they barely deserved to by a single point.

"This time, their performance was better in almost evert department, but they lost – by a single point. It took New Zealand an hour to take that slender lead but when it came, they never let go, and won a quite epic Test match. If the weather was filthy throughout, the rugby was of bone-crunching quality and intensity. 

"England thought they had the game won, when Sam Underhill – who had the game of his life upon his recall at opened flanker – jinked and outfoxed Beauden Barrett to score in the corner with six minutes to go.

"But it was chalked off when the TMO adjudged the Courtney Lawes charge-down that set it up to have come from an offside position. It was the tightest of calls, and one most of 82,149 at Twickenham did not agree with. 

Nik Simon, Daily Mail


"Eddie Jones told his players to write their own Hollywood movie but they came up with a classic heartbreak story.

"England were inches away from a famous victory at Twickenham. Sam Underhill thought he had scored the winning try after 76 minutes, but referee Jerome Garces interrupted the joyous celebrations to rule out the match-winning score."


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