So a French referee made a couple of mistakes and England lost a couple of tries to Wales at the weekend because of those umpiring errors. So what?

With people still dying in large numbers from Covid-19, why does anybody even care about the vagaries of playing international rugby? And anyway, isn’t rugby supposed to be a game in which the referee’s decision is final, even if he is wrong, even after a television replay shows that he’s wrong?

As it happens, even though he has apologised for mistakes, I don’t think Pascal Gauzere was wrong about the second try scored by Liam Williams after Louis Rees-Zammit appeared to knock the ball on. By a strict interpretation of the knock-on law as it is usually cited, though Rees-Zammit knocked the ball forward he did not COMPLETE a knock-on as the ball did not hit the ground or another player.

Instead it hit his leg, went backwards and rebounded off the leg of Henry Slade allowing Williams to score. And in any case, Wales would have won the match because English indiscipline handed them many more scoring opportunities than the referee.

World Rugby’s online Law book is as clear as mud on the knock-on issue, and seems to think a knock-on is something everybody knows about as it has to be self-evident. Except that it is not, as that Welsh try showed. Perhaps Law 11 should be better defined and then there would be no confusion.

World Rugby has another job to do. At the time of writing, the Six Nations Board has not decided about what needs to be done about the postponed France v Scotland match. I warned some time before the tournament started that there might be serious problems completing the 2021 Guinness Six Nations as planned, and my fear is that Scotland’s visit to Paris will be banned by the French Government.

As has been speculated, that could mean Scotland being awarded a 28-0 victory, but the alternative is that the match is postponed to a date when Scotland would have to send ten players back to their clubs to comply with the release rules. World Rugby should step in and, if the match is to be played during a release period, then they should order that Scotland be allowed to retain all members of the squad – tough on the clubs that pay their wages, I know, but having sanctioned the tournament, World Rugby has a duty to ensure Scotland is not disadvantaged because some players and coaches of France clearly did not follow their Covid-19 rules.

Which brings me to the British and Irish Lions and their summer tour of South Africa. I know no bigger fan of the Lions than me, and I think I showed that in the book Once Were Lions which I co-wrote with my old chum Jeff Connor. It didn’t sell a million but it didn’t do too badly, and it contains some cracking interviews, even though I say so myself, with several Lions who are no longer with us. Therefore it is with considerable sadness that I have to suggest that this summer’s tour must be cancelled, or at least postponed to 2022.

Does anyone seriously think that the global coronavirus pandemic will be over by June? South Africa is reeling under the attack of the pandemic, and has suffered 1.6m positive cases, with 50,000 dead. Furthermore, in the past few days, concern has grown about a new South African-based variant of the virus which is apparently more contagious and damaging than the original virus. Vaccination rollout has been slow but is improving, and there is a downward trend in the number of cases, but no one is predicting when South Africa will be safe to visit.

The whole point about the Lions is that they are a touring team, and it would go completely against the grain if the three Test matches were move to the Home Unions as has been suggested. And where would those three tests be played? London, Edinburgh, Cardiff or Dublin – three into four doesn’t go, and a huge fight would erupt, so that idea must bite the dust now.

I have seen it suggested that Australia might want to ‘pinch’ this summer’s tour and they certainly have a better record of dealing with the virus, but I am sure the objections of the South African Union would carry the day.

The Lions’ tour to South Africa will just be too risky this summer and the likelihood is that if it goes ahead, the Tour will be played in front of empty stadia, and we have all seen how underwhelming that is. The Home Unions and World Rugby must bite the bullet and cancel or perhaps postpone the tour until such times as players can travel safely and fans are back on seats.