Rugby World Cup 2011: James Hook believes penalty went over

James Hook
James Hook watches an attempt at goal against South Africa

Wales full-back James Hook claims he was denied a successful penalty kick which could have cost Wales an opening World Cup win over South Africa.

Hook's 14th-minute shot in Wales' 17-16 defeat sailed high above the posts and looked as it may have gone over.

But assistant referees Vinny Munro and George Clancy did not signal a score and referee Wayne Barnes agreed.

"Wayne Barnes was in the same position as me so surely he's seen what I've seen," said Hook.

"I thought it went over."

Barnes did not to refer the disputed penalty to television match official (TMO) Matt Goddard although Hook believes the English official should have done so.

"I suppose that would have been the best thing to do," said Hook.

The 26-year-old, who kicked 11 points in Wales' defeat by the defending champions in Wellington, was so confident after striking the shot that he turned away in the belief he had added another three points.

"Myself and the kicking coach [Neil Jenkins] said it was over, but what can you do?

"I was running back because I thought it was over so if I was in any doubt I would have stayed there and watched it go over.

"They [Hook's Welsh team-mates] thought it was over so they were running back as well.

"It was one of those things that he didn't give it and we lost by a point. So it's as simple as that."

And Wales coach Warren Gatland revealed Springboks full-back Frans Steyn had told the Welsh camp that Hook's kick should have been given.

"I thought it was interesting at half-time when we went in the tunnel and we were saying we thought the kick was over," said Gatland.

"And Frans Steyn said, 'yeah, I thought it was over as well'.

"That is the drama of sport. You take the good with the bad. Good sides take disappointment on the chin and they front up up next week."

Wales captain Sam Warburton also asked Barnes about going to Australian TMO Goddard during a break in play a couple of minutes later, but by that stage it was too late.

"The angle I was at when he took it, I couldn't tell," said the flanker.

"So we just cracked on as normal and I don't think many of the boys could tell but afterwards it looked like on TV that it went over.

"Even if it had been given, it might have changed the mindset of the South Africans, and they could have come back.

"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."

And Wales centre Jonathan Davies added: "We have heard whispers that it went over, but referees aren't perfect, there is human error involved."

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