Nigel Owens Penalises Clermont Player For Act Of ‘Bad Sportsmanship’

Game values.

One of the big talking points over the weekend has been Maro Itoje’s decision to mock Glasgow, after the Scottish side failed to hear the referee’s whistle and celebrated a disallowed try.

Some say it’s poor sportsmanship, others say it’s part and parcel of the game. Itoje wasn’t punished for his actions, but over in Franklin’s Gardens, Clermont lock Sebastien Vahaamahina wasn’t so lucky.

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With Welsh referee Nigel Owens in charge as Northampton took on Clermont in the Challenge Cup, the Saints were awarded a penalty in the first-half after Vahaamahina mocked a Northampton player who spilled the ball in a tackle, yards from the try-line.

Vahaamahina tapped the player several times on the head, much to the annoyance of Owens who issued a penalty immediately – stating such bad sportsmanship was not acceptable in the game of rugby.

The lock apologised and Dan Biggar slotted over the penalty. Clermont should have had a put in into their own scrum, but instead cough up a penalty and three points.

Referees have been told to clamp down on ‘game values’ at their own discretion this season, so the question is – how do you think it should be policed? Was Owens right in his decision? Should Itoje have suffered a similar fate?