Former International Referee Has His Say On Controversial Courtney Lawes Offside

Onside.

Former international referee Rob Debney, who last week said Owen Farrell’s tackle was a penalty, says Courtney Lawes was in fact ONSIDE in the build-up to Sam Underhill’s disallowed try against the All Blacks on Saturday.

And not only that – Debney says the TMO’s interference was a breach of World Rugby’s new protocol as there was no “clear and obvious” evidence to overturn the initial on-field decision. Writing for The Times, Debney explains why:

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“George Ford made the tackle on Richie Mo’unga and created an offside line for England when he fell to the floor.” Debney writes.

Debney says Perenara used Matt Todd to “elongate” the tackle area and give himself more space to kick. But says the moment his hands are on the ball the game is live.

“The moment Perenara placed his hands on the ball, it should have been considered to be out and therefore live. At that stage, Lawes is onside and he was free to advance. The try should have stood.”

In terms of the breach of protocol, the new TMO trial is supposed to bring decision-making back to the referee. And Debney says he should have been the one making the call, as the TMO only used one camera angle which he says created “false perspective”.

What do you think? Should the try have stood. You can read his piece in full here.