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England legends tear into Six Nations referee for 'soft' call that handed France victory

Ugo Monye and Jonny Wilkinson hit out at referee Angus Gardner for giving France a ‘soft’ penalty after England’s narrow defeat in Lyon. A last-gasp Thomas Ramos penalty saw the hosts claim a dramatic 33-31 triumph over Steve Borthwick’s men to claim second place in the final Six Nations table.

England raced into a healthy lead after the break thanks to a flurry of tries, with Ollie Lawrence scoring twice and Marcus Smith crossing once. France went on to reply with a couple of their own tries before Ramos was given the opportunity to seal victory when Ben Earl was penalised for a no-arms tackle.

With just over a minute left to play, Ramos split the posts from close to the halfway line to claim the spoils for France in the dying seconds. Monye was left furious with the decision to penalise Earl in the first place, with the former England back not mincing his words in a brutal assessment of what happened.

Speaking after the final whistle on ITV, Monye said: “Angus Gardner is a top referee, but what a soft decision to decide a game like this. I’m sorry, he offers his arm. I think we see that type of tackle lots of times in games.

“Credit to Thomas Ramos for putting it over, but as a decisive decision to decide the game? I don’t know, it’s soft for me. He offers his arm! He doesn’t wrap because the guy is 23 stone coming through him. I’m disappointed in myself for discussing this.

“It is the moment that created a penalty for Thomas Ramos. Whilst I’m disappointed, I think the focus and attention needs to be on another incredible game.”


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