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Jenkins wants talks with officials over penalty issues

By Jack de Menezes

The British and Irish Lions will seek urgent talks with the new match officials that will take charge of their Test series against the All Blacks after twice being on the wrong end of refereeing calls surrounding penalty kicks.

Warren Gatland's assistant coach, Neil Jenkins, confirmed on Wednesday that the Lions coaching team are convinced that Owen Farrell's penalty against the Crusaders last weekend clearly went between the uprights, and that if there was any doubt from referee Mathieu Raynal and his assistant referees Angus Gardner and Pascal Gauzere, they should have consulted the television match official to review it.

That frustration quickly turned to anger during Tuesday's 23-22 defeat by the Highlanders when Elliot Daly lined up a long range 55 metre penalty to snatch the victory, only to be marched backwards by Gardner after asking the TMO where the penalty mark was.

Gardner only took this course of action when the Highlanders' blindside flanker, Gareth Evans, told the Australian that the mark was in the wrong place.

Ahead of this weekend's crucial clash against the Maori All Blacks, Jenkins admitted that the Lions have been left frustrated by the calls of the departing triumvirate of officials, and will seek talks with their replacements, Jaco Peyper, Jerome Garces and Romain Poite ahead of the remainder of the tour.

Jenkins was also upset that, once Gardner moved the mark, the Lions were not given the option of reassessing if they wanted to kick for goal from 57 metres, or kick for touch and attempt to score a fourth try of the match.

"We did (argue our case) really, but it was pretty much a case of, 'that's what it is, we're going back'," Jenkins said.

"The screen was on as well. In terms of where the mark was, he (Gardner) was probably right, but where he's actually given it - that's where we were taking the shot.

"I don't know whether you (the ref) can change your mind and say, 'I got it wrong'. If you do say that then I'd say we should have the option, so that if we want to play for touch we can. But that wasn't discussed, Elliot had a pop and it came up short."

To say it came up short is an understatement. Daly's kick fell two metres short of the crossbar, about the same distance as Gardner had marched the full-back backwards before allowing him to take the shot at goal.

Having been on the end of a second penalty call that went against them, Jenkins was ready to unleash over the first that went somewhat under the radar given it came in the Lions' defiant 12-3 victory over the Crusaders last weekend. Farrell's fourth shot at goal appeared to go directly over the right upright and, given there was very little in it, the TMO should have been consulted. However, assistant referees Gardner and Gauzere looked at each other blankly and did not signal whether it had gone between the posts or not, leading to Raynal to signal for a 22m drop-out despite protestations from Farrell and Sean O'Brien falling short.

"It was over," Jenkins insisted. "Both me and Owen felt the kick was certainly over. It just crept in but, you know, the decision's made and that's how it is, you've just got to get on with it."

Belfast Telegraph

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