‘Annoyed’ England call for answers

England forwards coach Graham Rowntree is “seeking clarification” from the International Rugby Board over the performance of referee Steve Walsh in Saturday’s 30-3 defeat to Wales.

Rowntree is “annoyed” by the way Walsh handled both the scrum and the breakdown, two key areas which Wales dominated as they stormed to a record victory and the Six Nations title.

Wales are said to have admitted privately after the match that they collapsed the scrum on six occasions, but it was grand slam-seeking England, unable to hold them up, who were penalised.

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England also have issues with the key turnover which led to Alex Cuthbert’s first try, a moment head coach Stuart Lancaster described as “the tipping point” in the game.

Rowntree suggested the message he received in his pre-match meeting with Walsh was not followed through into the game and he wants the IRB’s referee’s chief Joel Jutge to explain why.

“I sat up on Saturday night and watched the game again forensically,” said Rowntree. “I’m annoyed at a lot of the outcomes and I will be speaking to the IRB to get some clarification about it.

“With Joel Jutge now in charge of the IRB referees, he’s very keen for an open forum and a very honest review process from the coaches and the referees.

“In most of the games I’ve submitted glowing reports on referees, but on this occasion we were frustrated by a lot of the outcomes and I will be speaking to Joel to get some clarification about the breakdown and scrum.”

Walsh awarded a total of 12 penalties and four free-kicks against England, who won just one of four scrums on their own ball.

Lancaster praised Wales for doing to England what his side had done to New Zealand in the autumn. With their British and Irish Lions coaching hats on, Rowntree and Andy Farrell will also have been happy with much of what they saw from Wales’s key players.

Lancaster will visit every member of the Red Rose squad over the next few weeks to discuss the fall-out from Cardiff, before they head off on summer tours with either England or the Lions.

“I think we have continued to make progress since beating New Zealand, but we’ve still got a fair way to go,” said Lancaster.

“You’ve got to go through the tough times, but I’d rather go through the tough times now than turn round in 2015 and we’re blooding young players with no experience at a home World Cup in our own backyard.

“The next step is for our best players to go to the Lions and see how they develop under that pressure, which will be significant. Mike Catt and I will take another group of players to Argentina. It will be critical for us because we go to a hostile environment and put ourselves under pressure.”