Earls laments costly late call

Keith Earls has criticised the officials’ failure to award Ireland a penalty in the final throes of Saturday’s draw with France.

With the scores locked after the French had struck back in the last 10 minutes, Earls was nudged over the touchline by replacement prop Vincent Debaty as they chased Eoin Reddan’s cute chip into the right corner.

The intervention enabled number eight Louis Picamoles, the source of France’s 74th-minute try, to touch down and television match official Nigel Whitehouse judged the contact between Debaty and Earls as legal.

Earls felt at least a penalty — that would have offered the chance to win a match they dominated for 50 minutes — should have been awarded as he was confident of winning the race for the ball.

“In my eyes it was definitely a penalty, I’d have to see it again to see if it was a penalty try. He knocked me off my feet and came across my line,” the Munster wing said. “It wasn’t even a shoulder, he used his elbow and forearm to push me off my feet. My eyes lit up, it’s been a while since I’ve scored a try for Ireland. And it could have been a winner against France, so it’s heartbreaking. I thought that was a bad decision. In my eyes I would have reached the ball.”

He added: “I don’t think we lacked anything, it was more about the decisions.

“We gave France a bit of a sniff at the end.”

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