Gethin Jenkins claims he was unfairly singled out by referee Poite

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It has emerged that Wales prop Gethin Jenkins asked not to return to the Twickenham pitch after being yellow-carded, as he felt that referee Romain Poite was singling him out unfairly for criticism.

Warren Gatland would have sent Jenkins back on but said: “Gethin sent a message up to us after the yellow card: was it prudent for us to send Paul James on because he felt that personally he had been singled out.”

Jenkins was warned twice by Poite before being sin-binned in the 53rd minute for not driving straight. He was also sin-binned in the previous round against France, and it is his third scrum-related sin-binning in Wales’ last eight matches.

“I thought the scrum was a pretty evenly-matched contest,” said Wales forwards’ coach Robin McBryde. “Obviously, I’m going to disagree with some of the interpretations of the referee but I didn’t think the difference was so glaring that it warranted a yellow card. We’re on dangerous ground when the result of a game can lie on the interpretation of the scrum.

“There’s a reporting process in place and I’ll be speaking to Joel [Jutge, the IRB elite official manager] with regards to clarification on a few things.”

What do you think? Was Poite right to send Jenkins off at Twickenham?

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

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45 comments on “Gethin Jenkins claims he was unfairly singled out by referee Poite

  1. He was warned twice before the card. If he can’t/won’t adjust to the interpretation of the law as laid down by M. Poite, he’s only got himself to blame. To quote Albert Einstein:

    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

    • Quite. Wales were repeatedly not driving straight and trying to wheel the scrum. Poite warned them twice and then went to his pocket. You could also argue it was a team yellow as Adam Jones wasn’t exactly doing brilliantly on the other side.

      McBryde attempting to blame “the result of a game” on this is ridiculous, England won in the loose against a poor Welsh defence. Having Geth on the pitch for an extra 10 minutes wouldn’t have made any difference.

    • Does that make me insane? I’ve refreshed the page 5 time now to read the 12 “older comments”, but of them; yours is the only one to show up…

      Anyway; wasn’t Graham Rowntree criticised for having similar complaints last year?
      At least Jenkins got a warning, 2 in fact. Cole just got told to go away by Walsh.
      I can somewhat understand though, the scrum is still a mixed bag and any England fan half as honest as he should be will openly admit that Corbisiero was particularly guilty of boring in at ridiculous angles not so long ago.

  2. uh oh…!

    The result of the match did not lie in the interpretation of the scrum. No idea if that’s what he’s suggesting, but it doesn’t sound great.

    As for Jenkins sending a message up… he’s probably right, he probably would’ve continued to get pinged rightly or wrongly depending on how you see it. I didn’t understand at the time why Gatland didn’t make a change when Poite spoke to him, I find it incredulous that he was going to send him back on after 10 mins in the bin. Did he think Poite was suddenly going to start pinging Wilson instead?

  3. Oh wow. Gethin; you should be better than that.

    Just watch the video back. You repeatedly refused to drive straight, after being warned on more than one occasion. I also think it’s appalling that he thinks he can tell Gatland when he wants to leave the pitch. It’s an international match, if you’re coach wants you on the pitch, you play. You don’t ask to leave because you think the ref is picking on you!

    • Disagree with that Jacob. Gats isn’t on the pitch – if Jenks genuinely feels he may get pinged again (regardless of whether it was right or wrong) then he has a duty to tell the coach this so Gats can add it to the info he has for making the right decision.

      I was at the match, couldn’t see body angles from up in the clouds so have nothing to say on the actual scrum offences. However, regardless of right/wrong, they were what they were and nobody should bring them up in the context of the score/result.

      Only thing I’d add is that anyone who thinks the one trying to “cheat” is always the prop on the angle is a bit out of date with what a decent tighthead can do to a loosie if he himself bores at a certain angle… But then that’s good scrummaging from the tighthead. It’s not legal, but it’s good scrummaging and if the loose can’t stand up to it then he gets pinged. So what I’m saying is yes, ping Gethin for his angle, but don’t assume he was delib trying to do that.

      • I’m not convinced by that. Yes, Wilson clearly played a part in effectively splitting Jenkins and Hibbard, but Jenkins could have done a lot more.

        I know you’re saying you couldn’t see from where you were sat (bloody jealous you went by the way!!), but from minute one Jenkins seemed to make a conscious effort to bore in and gain an advantage.

        I would say, he should have been trying to put that right, not asking to come off. It’s up to the coach to decide who should and should not be on the pitch. If he was saying to Gatland that he wasn’t fit, or something like that, then I’d completely agree with you. He wasn’t. What he said was that the ref is picking on me, had a big huff about it like a child and wouldn’t get back off the bench; which I think is poor from him.

  4. Finally been caught for a constant technical fault and knew he wouldn’t be able to compete scrummaging fairly. Dropping the shoulder and turning in gives you a massive advantage. His reaction should be dealt with – not the referee lambasted

  5. I feel Wales should dish out some of the same France gave to Picamoles. Jones was clearly not driving straight and got what he deserved.

    The figures speak for themselves Romain Poite wasn’t referring the other games where he was sin binned.

    Wales lost because Gatlands plan A didn’t work and they got found out, not becuase poor little Gethin was being picked on.

  6. Funny that he thinks he was being singled out, and yet once James did come on, he immediately got the better of Wilson, mainly by driving straight!!

    • Reckon Gatland missed a trick in not starting James as it is. Clubmates with Wilson, so with Davey having not played for a while James probably would have known a way to twist and turn him!

      • I think you’re spot on Jamie. James against Wilson would have been a much better contest. Gatland should have at least realised Jenkins had an issue after being warned, and not doing anything to stop himself getting sin-binned.

        • But this shows how much perception comes into it as I saw some commentators on this very blog say that a) Geth got rightly pinged and then b) Wilson got unfairly pinged when James came on because James did the same thing. So the ref got it right when he pinged Wales but wrong when he pinged England :-)

          • I think James did bore in, but far less obviously. He did it just enough to put Wilson in a compromisable position, then capitalised on it by driving everything he had at The Moose.
            Corbs used to do this immaculately well. Bore in momentarily on the hit to get them in an arkward position and then crumple them with a powerful drive. It’s become somewhat harder to disguise and do properly since the engagement change as usually the hit at an angle was all you needed to compromise the tighthead, making it much harder for the ref to spot.

  7. Oh dear. I hope we will see the same condemnation from all the Welsh fans who had a go at Graham Rowntree after last year’s match?

    As for being picked on, he certainly was. But that’s because he was scrummaging illegally. All he had to do was stop it and scrum straight.

    But instead, having had 2 warnings, he did exactly the same thing 2 feet away from the ref. What did he think was going to happen?

  8. Would like some feedback here from some ex front rowers. No problem with Jenkins being sin-binned but having talked to an ex front rower he gave the impression that Jenkins was being given a gap to drive into by illegal binding from Wilson and Hartley, thus causing the driving across. This said Jenkins being an experienced player should know how to counter act this.

    • Doesn’t sound very likely.

      Any gap in the binding between hooker and prop would be for the tighthead to drive (or get driven by the opposing loosehead) into. Poor binding by a tighthead would either:
      1) let the opposition hooker drive between isolating the tighthead and driving him up.
      2) possibly accentuate the effect of loosehead boring in.

      But this would require the loosehead to be boring in.

  9. He is spot on here. Wilson (the fourth choice England tighthead?) knew he was in trouble and bored in every scrummage, bringing Jenkins along. Unbelievable that Poitre was missing it. Ultimately much blame has to lie with Hibbard, who wouldn’t or couldn’t fight it off. A front row that is at a disadvantage will always bore their tighthead in on the opposition hooker to destabilize and neutralize. Thankfully this didn’t have an impact on the overall outcome but poor refereeing. This was the same English front row that lost 4 of 8 of their put-ins against Ireland against a Welsh front row that was 4 from 4 on their puts and took two against the head against the same Irish side.

    • Dominic, your views have some substance, but this is part of the “art” of front row play isn’t it?

      If Jenkins and Hibbard had worked better together then it would have negated Jenkins swinging out quite as much. I don’t recall who was behind him but they could have helped also.

      If not stop Wilson boring in, then certainly keeping Jenkins straight.

      The bottom line is though, that Wilson appeared to be driving straight.

      Is Wilson the fourth choice? That sounds like a luxury that is not immediately apparent. Cole apart – and even that is debatable – who else would go ahead of him?

      • I agree. Hibbard is a huge scrummager. and as demonstrated by James when he came on, if the loosehead binds tight and drives straight with his hooker he will get under a tighthead trying to get in on the hooker. Result is tighthead curls up and goes backwards down or up.

        Had it done to me a few times.

  10. Well thats life in the front-row isn’t it?

    104 caps? I am pretty sure that he has earned plenty of penalties that his opposite number would not agree with, and with 104 caps in the bank, if it is his day to incur the whistlers wrath then he has to deal with that. Poite did specifically warn him.

    Didn’t see Paul James scrummaging at the same angle.

    I should add that I agree with McBryde in that the scrum appeared fairly equal, but quite simply Jenkins got his part of it wrong.

  11. If the tighthead angles into to the hooker and the loosehead drives straight then the scrum goes round…. It’s all a mess and the ref should penalise 50/50 unfortunately he singled out the least likely culprit when you can quite clearly see from the above camera David Wilson caused it! ( I am a Bath Rugby follower)

  12. Seriously? This is quite pathetic and sad, but also laughable that this guy is trying to play the ‘innocent’ card. He’s a serial offender, test match after test match, was carded the previous game, tries it on yet again on Sunday, given 2 warnings then sent to the sideline. Is he just a bit thick or living in a little world of denial? How much writing on the wall does someone need before they wake up and smell some reality? It was blatantly obvious watching it on the TV, so how he thought he was going to get away with it against the ref is anyone’s guess.

    Maybe his tactic was similar to the teams; try and pull off the same thing they did last year and get away with it. Didn’t work out with a decent unbiased ref though.

    Of course his coach is going to back him up – he’s probably got his head up his arse as well.

    • “Maybe his tactic was similar to the teams; try and pull off the same thing they did last year and get away with it. Didn’t work out with a decent unbiased ref though. ”

      I was with you right up until you tried to claim that this year he was caught cheating but last year he just got away with it….

      McBryde is an arse for moaning about the ref this year, Rowntree was an arse for doing the same last year, as is anyone who blames the score/result of this or last years game on the ref.

  13. Perhaps it is ungracious to call Wilson fourth choice but there is a precipitous drop in quality after Cole. And on Premiership/HC form I would have thought Mako or Paul Doran-Jones would rate ahead. Or just give Henry Thomas the test experience to deepen the options available so England doesn’t get caught out like this again.

    • Wilson is not a long way behind Cole, he’s ahead on scrummaging and ball carrying, behind on workrate and ruck skills. Against Ireland the scrum suffered, but he’d only played a few mins of rugby having been out for months with a calf injury. None of the England front 5 (Wilson aside) are big guys for their position, there’s no huge unit packing down behind the tighthead. Grunt has been sacrificed for mobility and athleticism, but take a look at how a Bath scrum goes when James, Webber, Wilson and Attwood are all in it!

    • Mako the LH? Or Doran-Jones the guy that can’t get in the Quins team?

      I think you’re a bit delusional on the quality of Wilson.

      Also, Doran-Jones has not yet started for Quins in Europe, so what are you basing his selection on?

      Seems like you’re making ludicrous statements to me in the face of Wilson spending sunday afternoon out-scrummaging Jenkins.

  14. Dominic, Mako is a loose-head, and whilst Doran-Jones is reasonable, one would be hard pushed to place him ahead of Wilson at the moment. Thomas may be the future, but he is still only second choice at Sale.

    I would suggest, and I am not sure that this is a lone view, that Wilson is a better scrummager than Cole.

    • Doran-Jones is ok. Not an international level prop. There are plenty of young tight-head props coming through the clubs now.

  15. “We’re on dangerous ground when the result of a game can lie on the interpretation of the scrum.”

    I was really disappointed with the English coaches last year for bringing up scrum interpretation. Sure if they aren’t happy about it ask the question through the formal channels, don’t moan to the press. However to suggest the result of this game hinged on the scrum interpretation is pathetic. Had James been on from the start we could have been in real trouble, go look at yourselves and your selection decisions guys, don’t blame Poite for removing a player from the field who’s ass was repeatedly facing the touchline.

    • To be fair, my memory of what happened with England last year was that Rowntree and Lancaster were talking to the players at the end of the game, to which the press were privvy (another good point that Woodward raises about just where the press are allowed to go). They said they were going to request clarification on the interpretation at scrum time and over an incident that led to a try, which is the official channel, you just can’t say it without the press getting hold of it if you let them into every facet off the field.

  16. 3 yellows in 6 tests, you know what they say, “if a man calls you an ass, ignore him. If 10 men call you an ass, its time to buy a saddle”. The removal of the hit has given a stability to engagement which is making it easier for refs to spot the angles of push.
    wales tactic was obvious, one side pushes in, the other tries to go out and round, destroying the tunnel, pinning the hooker and turning the scrum illegally to expose the SH to the flankers. If you get told to stop it then you are quite frankly stupid to carry on doing it, and as has been pointed out you could see more of Jenkins bum hole than you could og his outside shoulder. Pathetic wingeing really.

  17. Not a big fan of Jenkins, BUT if you saw the game, you realized from the outset that Poite had it out for him from the start. Not surprised, considering it was Poite. He’s the Northern Hemisphere’s Bryce Lawrence.

    • Actually, first scrum Poite penalised England for what Jenkins was doing. Next scrum he was on the right side to see it and then warned Jenkins he wanted it straight. Jenkins continued to wiggle his arse in Poite’s face to which he took offence

  18. There is no use blaming the referee. All these teams analyse referees as much as players, so their particular idiosyncrasies are well known beforehand and are undoubtedly discussed in team meetings. I thought Poite had a good game. He warned Warburton early on that Jenkins needed to be careful about not packing down straight, so he can hardly complain when he was sin-binned for a repeated offence.

  19. Agree with Jim, Jenkins has been imperious in the past – (how did he get so many Lions Caps) but he was outscrummaged on Sunday.
    Watching it from the overhead spidey cam thingy, it was a clear and obvious tactic to split the English front row, Jenkins bores in, everyone else steps to the left, Wilson and Hartley try to stay straight, but Jenkins pushes Hartley to his left, and the Welsh pack flows through the 2/3 slot. Not legal in the slightest.
    Although, I’m not sure it was Poite who noticed it. I’m sure he was told by his assistant. I think it may have been Steve Walsh, who clearly has had a moment of enlightenment, and realised that most of the scrum penalties he’s awarded against England in the past might have been wrong.
    See? Shouting at the telly really does work!!!

  20. “We’re on dangerous ground when the result of a game can lie on the interpretation of the scrum.”

    Is this the same side that won a zillion free kicks and penalties last year when the ref didn’t like the Scots’ scrum?

  21. How did Poite have it in for Jenkins from the outset, when in the first scrum Jenkins bores in, and wins the penalty for Wales? He then tries again, and Poite spots it, and then he repeats and repeats the same thing right in front of Poite. And Wilson is scrummaging straight, he’s not above boring in, but he didn’t in this game.

    I actually wonder if it was Jenkins fault, since his flanker was putting in a huge amount of effort, if that wasn’t equalled by the tighthead lock, then the forces coming through him are going to cause him to end up boring in, even if he doesn’t mean to.

    • “then the forces coming through him are going to cause him to end up boring in, even if he doesn’t mean to”

      Completely agree Dan. I can see from the pics that Jenks was boring in. Penalties against him therefore given, sin bins for persistent, etc. However, some of the comments try and make out that this is obviously because he is cheating. I think it’s hard to know that for sure, as you say, he could just be being out scrummaged. In which case again the pens are the right call.

  22. Jenkins will have got away with all sorts of Skulldugary. In other games as will all front rows; stop whingeing and accept for once u were punished

  23. The other thing I’ll point out is that the card Jenkins got in the France game was much more about being in the wrong place at the wrong time and he and McBryde should know that. The scrum in that game was atrociously officiated. It’s surprisingly easy for a front row to be badly positioned and the referee needs to make sure the engagement is straight and stable, but both front rows were crooked at most scrums and he needed to take the initiative to make sure they were both set straight and safe in order to make the scrum happen. Jenkins just happened to be on Rolland’s side of the scrum after the warning that he gave, it could just as easily have been Jones so to suggest he was singled out on that occassion is false