Courtney Lawes has admitted that “maybe I need to take a step” after being controversially penalised for offside which ruled out Sam Underhill’s solo try that would have given England victory over New Zealand.
Instead, television match official Marius Jonker ruled Lawes had come up too quickly on New Zealand scrum half TJ Perenara to charge down the kick that Underhill then collected to beat Beauden Barrett to the try line. While debate still rages about the decision which saw England lose 16-15, the Northampton forward is taking the emotion out of the incident pointing out that a 12-11 victory over South Africa followed another big call by the TMO which went in England’s favour after a big tackle by Owen Farrell.
Lawes said: “There is not a lot I can say. I was deemed offside and therefore I was offside. I think the game should just be played by the rules and I don’t know exactly what the offside line was so I can’t really comment on it right now. We will go back and review it. Maybe I need to take a step.
“That was the same last week when we won by a point. Teams at the high end are getting closer and closer. We have to make sure we keep trying to improve and take everything we can out of the game because we played really well. We knew we could beat them and we proved that and moving forward to the World Cup, it gives us a load of confidence.”
Lawes, a second half replacement, is set to start against Japan on Saturday when sorting out the mis-firing England line out will be a priority after Brodie Retallick stole three throws for the All Blacks as hooker Jamie George had a nightmare second half.
Lawes is adamant that can never happen again and said: “I wasn’t calling and I wasn’t even anywhere near the caller. I was basically just in there trying to do my job. I know we didn’t make any mistakes in terms of drill and execution. It was good pressure from the All Blacks and they turned over a couple. You should get plenty of practice in the week with both and probably conditions didn’t help. Every team has problems throwing in the wet and it just so happened we had a ton of lineouts (in the second half). We’ll review it and try to make sure that never happens again.
“We had some great driving mauls and I think we were unlucky with some decisions but such is rugby. I think we adapted really well. We kept on trying to put the pressure on them but couldn’t quite convert- but hopefully in a year’s time we will.”