Nigels Owens says England "lucky" vital try stood vs Wales after Maro Itoje foul

England are fortunate to have beaten Wales 23-19 in Saturday's Six Nations grudge match, because a check-in with the TMO would have ruled out Alex Dombrandt's decisive try for the Twickenham hosts.

That's according to former Six Nations regular and 2015 Rugby World Cup final referee Nigel Owens, who said Eddie Jones ' side were "lucky to keep" the score due to Maro Itoje 's foul play in the build-up.

Harlequins No. 8 Dombrandt cruised over early in the second period to give England a commanding 17-0 lead, though Wales fought back to claim a losing bonus point and outscored their hosts three to one in tries.

The visitors might have even sealed their first Six Nations win at Twickenham in a decade had referee Mike Adamson consulted his television match official following the first try of the game.

Ryan Elias' throw next to Wales' try line went directly over the line-out and into the grateful mitts of Dombrandt, who had an easy run in from 10 metres to score his maiden Test try.

But replays showed Itoje was the reason Wales botched their line-out lift, having subtly played a hand in preventing 6'9" Adam Beard from jumping to collect the ball.

"You cannot obstruct an opponent from jumping at the line-out, and when you watch the footage back it looks like Itoje did that, before Dombrandt subsequently scored," Owens wrote for the Telegraph.

"Normally, if there was any doubt then the referee would refer to the television match official, and because that incident was a moment of foul play it is covered under the protocol of using the TMO.

"Even if the officials were not aware of the incident, the TMO would be watching everything in the truck and could intervene. I was surprised that didn't happen, particularly when the Wales players were asking the referee to check for foul play. That would normally trigger a review."

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It wasn't the only decision that led fans to criticise the performance of referee Adamson, with Welsh supporters particularly upset at how the breakdown area was managed throughout.

Wayne Pivac's men ultimately paid the price for failing to fire in attack, having only got off the mark when Josh Adams crossed over to score their first points in the 54th minute.

However, many will wonder what might have been had Dombrandt been denied his dot down, while Quins team-mate Marcus Smith provided all 18 of their remaining points via penalties.

Itoje appeared well aware of the impact he had played in the build-up, too, peeling away from the celebrations with a knowing grin.

"If it had been checked, then the decision centres on whether Itoje obstructed Beard from jumping at the line-out," Owens continued. "I would say Itoje probably did obstruct Beard, which means if it had been checked, I would have been pretty surprised if the try had stood.

"If you did not see the incident yourself as the referee, you would be hoping that your assistants and the TMO would intervene. The smile on Itoje's face said everything, really!

"The reason people will be disappointed is because moments like that are why we have the technology in the game."

Owens wrapped up his point by saying Wales coach Pivac had a "right to be disappointed" the incident wasn't checked, as tends to be the case in Test matches when a try is scored.

The incident might have been reviewed had injured captain Alun Wyn Jones been present at the line-out, with stand-in skipper and fly-half Dan Biggar seemingly unaware there was anything worth flagging.

England chief Jones said after the game that he wouldn't comment on the referee's performance, adding it was "well and good" if his side had received the "rub of the green" on this occasion.

Pivac was more damning in his assessment that Beard had in fact been bumped prior to his jump, agreeing the try "probably wouldn’t have been given" if it went to the TMO.

Wales will attempt to make up for their near miss at Twickenham when they host leaders France in their next outing on Friday March 11, one day before England welcome Ireland to Headquarters in the fourth round.

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