Debates about refereeing decisions are not new, not in any sport, and particularly not for fans of Scottish rugby who only need to cast their minds back to the 2015 World Cup where Craig Joubert’s decision to award Australia a last-minute penalty saw Vern Cotter’s side cruelly eliminated.  

The issue with the decision made by Nic Berry and Brian MacNeice not to award Sam Skinner a first Test try against France is that fans – whether at home or among the crowd at Scottish Gas Murrayfield – lived every moment of the officials’ error.  

From Berry stopping the game with the clock just through 80 minutes, to MacNeice saying three minutes later he had evidence of the ball touching the Murrayfield paint, there was a palpable sense of imminent jubilation.  

No sooner had Scotland fans had that hope built up than it had been ripped from them, MacNeice declaring he had in fact not seen enough evidence for Berry to overturn his initial ‘no try’ decision. France were handed victory. 

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There is no doubt being a referee is a thankless task. As Townsend pointed out in each of the last two weekends, everyone makes mistakes. Officials are not immune and from the footage I am convinced Berry and MacNeice will have had sleepless nights this week reflecting on their judgement.  

And while referees should not be subjected to abuse, they should be held accountable for mistakes. Just like a player might be dropped for a mistake or a loss of form, officials must go through the same process. No doubt in this case there will be some repercussion. Let’s wait and see how many games Berry takes charge of during The Rugby Championship before casting judgement further.  

But Scotland did not help themselves. They were dominant in the first half, left points on the pitch by taking a risk at a tap penalty, then scrums, before coughing up a penalty in the shadow of the French posts.  

A more clinical side would have put France to the sword. Even when Finn Russell attempted a long-range drop-goal in the second half, you felt Scotland needed another score to give themselves breathing space. It never came, and the French capitalised.  

After the match, the players all said the same thing – they need to move on and focus on England. A line for us reporters or not, they’re right. There is little to be gained from prolonging ‘try-gate’.  

Scotland’s coaches will no doubt receive some feedback, in time, from World Rugby, but it seems unlikely World Rugby will head down the road they did in 2015 by admitting Joubert’s error.  

The decision may sting for some time to come, particularly if Scotland beat England and Italy. The dream of a Grand Slam decider with Ireland on St Patrick’s weekend in Dublin is gone. But there is still the Calcutta Cup to be won, and victory in that fixture, then in Rome would set up a shot at the championship on the final day, if all other results go as expected.  

But unfortunately, just as was the case in 2015, the result is in the books. Continuing the debate much longer is not going to help.