Gregor Townsend admitted he was “absolutely gutted” by Scotland’s defeat to France and criticised the decision not to award his side a last-minute try.  

Television match official Brian MacNeice and referee Nic Berry determined there was not conclusive evidence that Sam Skinner had grounded the ball over the line, despite television pictures appearing to show the ball on the turf.  

Australian Berry had initially given ‘no try’ on the pitch, meaning Ireland’s MacNeice needed to find clear and conclusive evidence to overturn that decision.  

Townsend said: "We were celebrating in the coaches’ box having seen the pictures of the ball being placed down on the tryline after having been on the player’s boot.

"That was also after hearing the communication to the referee from the TMO to say that the ball started on the foot and then went on the ground. 

“The ref then says, ‘I can also see that on the ground’ then their last interaction was ‘hang on, let’s look at that other angle, it’s inconclusive now, stick with your on-field decision’.” 

“The TMO was the one who changed his mind and said, ‘stick with your on-field decision.” 

Scotland Rugby News:

Townsend added he was disappointed to see the game slip away with his side in control for the majority.

He added: “The way the game was going in the second half, I didn’t think there would be any points scored at one stage - we were in control. 

“The long kicking strategy with players in front of the ball, that wasn’t leading to any problems. We were actually getting errors from them, we were six points ahead and it looked comfortable. 

“But we did make an error that led to a scrum that led to a try. At the time, I thought it was going to be really difficult to score the required five points.” 

Scotland wrestled their way back into the match, Kyle Rowe was hauled down by a pack of visiting defenders after he’d burst clear, before a turnover from Finn Russell gave Scotland field position at the end of the game.   

The Scotland coach added: “It was a fantastic effort to win the ball back, for Kyle Rowe to make his break and for Finn to win the ball back and set us up on the try line. 

“The emotions straight after that when I saw the pictures were, ‘what a fantastic win, what a team to come back. To play so well, go behind and come back, what a great victory for our supporters’ then it’s taken away from you.  

“It’s sport, we know that, and we have to be better. That’s why you play and coach - to win but also to get better. We have to make sure we take winning and losing out of the hands of referees and TMOs.” 

He refused to be drawn on whether the officials had performed their roles properly.  

"All I can say is that we were celebrating a win, our players and a lot of our supporters were by the pictures we saw,” he said.   

"Gavin Hastings was in front of us, and the media were turning round a few times as well to ask, and I’m saying, ‘yeah, it’s a try’. 

 “I’ll leave it to you guys to make any comment more than that, but we believe it was a try.” 

After another dominant first half display, Townsend conceded Scotland should have been out of sight.  

READ MORE: Five things we learned from Scotland's defeat to France

“At 16-10, the game that was presented to us, the game of kick and stay in front of the kicker, we dealt with that fine. We put a lot of pressure on their lineout but against the top teams in the world you have to be more than six points ahead. 

“There are things we could have done better, but we didn’t feel it was going to lead to France getting ahead on the scoreboard.

"We still had a couple of opportunities in the second half that we could have taken, but we definitely had more chances in the first half.”