Rugby World Cup 2011
Hook not dwelling on 'missed' penalty
September 11, 2011
James Hook strikes a penalty during Wales' agonising defeat by South Africa on Sunday © Getty Images
James Hook is refusing to dwell on what might have been after seeing a penalty which could have clinched his side a famous win over South Africa controversially ruled out by the officials.
Warren Gatland's men were beaten 17-16 in Wellington, with the Springboks scraping home with a converted try from Francois Hougaard, after Wales had threatened an almighty upset after moving 16-10 ahead when Hook converted Toby Faletau's 53rd-minute touchdown.
Welsh fans were left disconsolate by the defeat, not least because it appeared that the match officials had erred in ruling that Hook's 14th-minute penalty attempt had gone wide when, in fact, it had appeared to have sneaked inside the right post. Hook, though, did not want to make a big issue over the penalty that never was.
"I felt it went over. But it is not something I am going to debate or dwell on," he said. "It is one of those things. It wasn't given and we lost by a point, simple as that. It has gone now."
Wales boss Warren Gatland was also reluctant to focus on the 'missed penalty', even though he revealed that Springbok fullback Frans Steyn also felt that the kick had been good.
"That is the drama of sport. That is why we are all involved in it," the New Zealand said. "I thought it was interesting at half-time when we went in the tunnel and we were saying we thought the kick was over, and Frans Steyn said, 'yeah, I thought it was over as well'.
"You take the good with the bad. Good sides take disappointment on the chin and they front up next week."
Wales captain Sam Warburton, who had asked referee Wayne Barnes to ask the Television Match Official to take a look at the kick, was keen to move on, too.
"Even if it had been given, it might have changed the mindset of the South Africans, and they could have come back," the flanker said. "It was in the first half, and there was still 60-odd minutes to go, so you can't blame the game on that. It's hard to say what would have happened."
Wales could have won the game at the death themselves anyway, but Rhys Priestland missed what looked like a straightforward drop goal attempt while Hook fired when presented with a penalty wide on the right wing with seven minutes to go.
"It is a hell of a windy place, and I don't blame Rhys or James for nudging those kicks wide," Warburton said. "They were real tough kicks. It was very windy, very swirling. It must be a kicker's nightmare to play in that stadium."
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