NIGEL OWENS: I have sympathy for Owen Farrell and England

NIGEL OWENS: I have sympathy for Owen Farrell and England because the referee was not fair to Eddie Jones’ side for the first try and Louis Rees-Zammit DID knock the ball on for Wales’ second – but the right team still won!

  • READ: Eddie Jones’ stuttering England side suffer 40-24 loss to Wales in Cardiff
  • Josh Adams’ and Liam Williams’ tries for Wales left England feeling hard done by 
  • Former World No1 referee Nigel Owen’s breaks down both the controversial tries 

Wales lifted the Triple Crown following a resounding 40-23 victory over rivals England in the Six Nations on Saturday.

Wayne Pivac’s side scored four tries for a bonus point victory at the Principality Stadium, but the first two, scored by Josh Adams and Liam Williams have left Eddie Jones side feeling hard done by.  

Former World No1 referee Nigel Owen’s breaks down both of Wales’ controversial tries against England for Sportsmail.

Wales lifted the Triple Crown following a resounding 40-23 victory over rivals England

TRY ONE 

I have sympathy for Owen Farrell and England. What the referee did may have been correct by the letter of the law, but the fair thing would have been to allow England to reset their defence before putting the time back on.

He asked Farrell to speak to his team about their discipline, and England were in that huddle because he asked them to be.

My game management as a referee in that situation would be to say to myself: ‘Right, I have asked him to speak to his players. I need to be sure that I give them enough time to get back into defence.’ The referee did not do that.

I have sympathy for Owen Farrell and England following Josh Adams’ opening try for Wales

Farrell did the right thing when he put his point across to the referee. That is what you want from your captain. He was frustrated, understandably so.

If that had been me, I would have thought, ‘Hang on, fair point, I asked you to form a huddle and should have given you time.’

I would like to think I would not have put the time back on in the first place, but if Farrell had come to me and explained his position I would have looked again and not allowed the try.

TRY TWO 

Wales’ second try should not have been awarded. It was a knock-on by Louis Rees-Zammit.

The law states that if a player loses control of the ball forward, he must regain possession of it otherwise it is a knock-on. Rees-Zammit touched the ball and it went down and forward on to his leg, then backwards.

The key thing here is that had Rees-Zammit’s hand not touched the ball, it would have been play on. But it did. He lost control of the ball with his hands and failed to regain possession. That is a knock-on.

If you have any questions, just look at Rees-Zammit’s face when the try is awarded. That gives you the answer you need.

You cannot just point the finger at the referee. There were four officials looking at it and between them they should have come to the correct decision. I heard the TMO say that the ball went backwards off the player’s leg. That is correct. But what they failed to mention was that it came off his hand first. It’s a knock-on. 

Wales’ second try should not have been awarded as it was a knock-on by Louis Rees-Zammit

Overall 

We should not let the two contentious refereeing decisions overshadow the fact that Wales should have won. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a Welshman!

Wales should have won the game. Despite the decisions, England’s discipline let them down. Maro Itoje is a great player but to give away five penalties, he can count himself very lucky he did not get a yellow card. Alun Wyn Jones was right to point out to the referee after the fifth penalty that Itoje had not changed his behaviour and ask why he had not been shown a yellow card.

The officials were correct not to send off Tom Curry for a possible contact to the head. He went in high but made contact with the ball first. Had it been the head, he would have been shown a red card. 

This should be a lesson to all players. Go in high and get it wrong and you will be sent off. It was the right decision but Curry was lucky his shoulder made contact with the ball first.

Wales should be given credit for putting England under pressure to force their ill-discipline. Whatever you think of the decisions, they deserved to win in what was a thrilling Test match.

Despite the referee’s contentious decisions, Wales still deserved to win the match




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