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Wales Online
Wales Online
Katie Sands

Today's rugby headlines as England slap down Wales furore over controversial Twickenham try

Here are the latest rugby headlines on Friday, March 4.

England address controversial try against Wales

England forwards coach Richard Cockerill has slapped down talk of his team's controversial try against Wales which prompted debate about whether the match-winning score should have stood.

Eddie Jones' men remain in title contention after defeating Wales 23-19 last time out, but there was a contentious moment when Alex Dombrandt scored from a mis-thrown Ryan Elias lineout after Maro Itoje appeared to push Adam Beard.

Wales boss Wayne Pivac said the score should not have stood after his players protested to referee Mike Adamson, but Cockerill had little sympathy.

"We want to compete hard on opposition ball," he said.

"No-one seemed to get in the air and in fairness, the Welsh team took the space as much as the English team. Sometimes that's just the nature of competing for the ball.

"The referee and TMO looked at it and it's play on. I've looked at it a lot and I'm sure I'm slightly biased, but it's probably six of one, half a dozen of the other, and that's the game sometimes isn't it?"

Dombrandt said post-match: "The ball just sort of come over the lineout, fell into my hands and I just did enough to get over the line. A really special moment to get my first try."

Leading referee Nigel Owens believed the score should have been ruled out by Adamson.

Jonathan Davies: Wales must focus on hard graft

Jonathan Davies feels Wales must continue to do the hard graft off the ball to make the most of when they do get it in their hands.

Wales must lift themselves for the visit of Six Nations leaders France, who are hoping to march on towards a first Grand Slam since 2010 when they head to Cardiff next Friday.

Davies, though, believes if Wales can work at "stuff that people don't really want to do", then they can make the most of the opportunity to play their own expansive game.

"When you break down the [England] game and look at areas that we can improve on and keep building, you can take some positives with how we played with the ball in the second half," the 33-year-old centre said.

"We want to play with tempo and speed, with that you have to be accurate. I thought there were periods in the second half when we had control of the ball and it was pretty positive.

"We did some good stuff, but inevitably, it is a results-based game and we didn't get the result in the end."

Davies added: "The ability we have when we have players on the ball is important and there is a lot that goes into making sure that you can play like that.

"We had value on those fundamentals in the game on Saturday when we wanted to, but it is making sure that we have that for the full 80 minutes.

"You have got to maintain the ball and keep it for longer periods of time if you are going to play with it more.

"If you don't have correct numbers or accuracy over the ball cleaning out their threats, you are going to lose the ball.

"Sometimes it is the stuff that people don't really want to do. If you value that, then it goes a long way to helping you maintain the ball and keep the ball.

"It was something that we spoke about. It is the tasks that don't really get the plaudits, that is what we have to value for everyone else then to flourish."

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Ireland preparing for 'bubbling' England's 'big performance'

Ireland forwards coach Paul O'Connell fears title rivals England are "on the verge of a big performance."

Andy Farrell's side must win at Twickenham next weekend to maintain their quest for championship success.

Eddie Jones' hosts are in a similar situation to the Irish, having registered two wins and a loss so far, with the two sides attempting to overhaul Grand Slam-chasing France.

After defeat to Scotland in round one of the tournament, new-look England recovered to brush aside perennial wooden spoon winners Italy before stuttering past Wales last time out.

O'Connell, who won three times at the home of English rugby as a player, is braced for major test and admits Ireland need to refine areas of their play.

"We need to improve everywhere," he said. "We're going to Twickenham with a full crowd.

"England I think are just bubbling and are just on the verge of a big performance, so every part of what we do needs to be done better.

"There isn't any one particular area but everything just needs to be a little bit more accurate. One of the big things when we're away from home is just being calm. That's one of the big things for the lads.

"There's never any lack of intent, or passion, or emotion when these boys play for Ireland. It's just being calm on the big occasion."

Ireland dispatched depleted Italy on Sunday to make it 14 Dublin wins from 15 under head coach Farrell.

Irish boss steps down after backlash

Ireland's director of women's rugby Anthony Eddy has stepped down from the role with immediate effect.

The Australian attracted criticism in November after he seemed to blame players for the team's failure to qualify for this year's World Cup.

Eddy has also left his post as director of the Irish Rugby Football Union's sevens programme.

His duties will initially pass to existing IRFU staff while the governing body takes time to "reassess the future requirements for the women's and sevens games".

"I am proud of each of the teams, the athletes, and staff that I have worked with," said Eddy in an IRFU statement. "I wish all these people and teams the very best and thank the IRFU for their understanding."

The IRFU commissioned an investigation into the shortcomings of the women's failure to reach the World Cup, while a "broader structural review" is also being carried out, with the findings yet to be published.

Under Eddy's watch, the men's sevens team reached the the Olympic Games for the first time.

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