Welsh TMO Whitehouse’s defining World Cup final intervention angers England fans

Welsh official Ben Whitehouse made a defining intervention in the women's Rugby World Cup final that has divided opinion. With 14-woman England leading 31-29 inside the final 10 minutes, TMO Whitehouse stepped in to overturn the referee's decision to award them a lineout. Ref Hollie Davidson believed Zoe Harrison's misjudged kick from outside her 22 clipped a New Zealand hand as it went out on the full.

But Whitehouse stepped in to show there was no Kiwi contact, meaning a New Zealand lineout was correctly awarded in England territory. From the resulting set-piece, the Black Fearns launched a devastating attack, with Ayesha Leti-I'iga scoring what proved to be the winning try in a 34-31 win. Competition: Win one of four pairs of tickets to see Wales play Georgia courtesy of Dove Men+Care

ITV commentator Nick Mullins said: "On the TMO, you don't see that very often. It's a big call and Ben Whitehouse in the TMO truck has made sure it's the right call." Co-commentator Phillipa Tuttiet described it as "a brilliant intervention". But many angry England fans have questioned the intervention and asked why Whitehouse decided to get involved in the incident, while seemingly letting others pass.

In particular, the decision to not send off Kennedy Simon after a review for making head contact with Abby Dow has been questioned. Generally, the TMO's remit centres around try-scoring decisions and acts of foul play. World Rugby's most recent TMO protocols do allow for the TMO to help the ref make calls on lineouts "on the run" without stopping the game if necessary. In this particular situation, there was a lengthy break in play after the initial decision that gave the official plenty of time to step in.

While few can argue the correct decision was eventually made, it has drawn complaints from many about inconsistencies in how TMOs are used and when they get involved.

England players console each other after their loss to New ZealandEngland players console each other after their loss to New Zealand

From the fateful decision, it was disaster for England as Theresa Fitzpatrick's kick split the English defence and Fluhler gathered before releasing the ball just short of the line for Leti-l'iga to apply the finishing touch. England had a chance to snatch victory with the final play of the match after the hooter had sounded - via a lineout close the New Zealand line. But just when they needed to make it count most England lost their own throw and the Black Ferns were champions for a sixth time.

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