Referee Nigel Owens has his say on Tom Curry & Jesse Kriel tackles
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The biggest talking point following round one of the Rugby World Cup was the inconsistency surrounding the punishment of certain ‘tackles’, for sure.
It all began with Tom Curry’s tackle in England’s opening game that resulted in the forward being red-cared and ultimately banned for an accidental, but dangerous head-collision.
The tackle has been a hugely controversial topic, with referee JP Doyle among those who stepped up to try and explain the reasoning behind the red card, and now Nigel Owens has stepped up with his two cents.
Speaking on the latest episode of his Whistle Watch series on World Rugby’s social media channels, Owens explained why a red card was the right decision for Curry.
“Now, do we have foul play? Yes, we do. Do we have direct contact or contact with the head? Yes, we do. Do we have a high degree of danger? Yes, we do,” Owens said as he worked through the protocols.
“So now after all that, we are already on a red card. So what happens here is this, the Argentinian player jumps in the air.
“He then comes down, and as he comes down pretty much simultaneously, Tom Curry makes contact with the Argentinian player, and we have contact with the head.
“Now, it all comes down to something as simple as this; if you [the referee] felt that Tom Curry was reckless and he could have done something to avoid what happened, then we don’t have any mitigation, and we have a red card.”
Owens then switched his attention to Jesse Kriel’s hit on Scotland’s Jack Dempsey. he believes there was insufficient evidence of head contact between Kriel and Dempsey for the TMO to warrant stepping in and alerting the referee.
“So when the game is going ahead, the TMO will be looking at everything in the background,” Owens said.
“Just remember they have the Hawke-Eye system which has all the different angles, all the different views to look at instances in the game.
“The TMO is looking at this and will then decide if he needs to bring something to the referee to then put it up on the screen and officially look at it, or he feels ‘I can’t see anything wrong here’, so we won’t be showing the referee because there’s nothing to show and then we carry on with the game.”
Owens then explained was the tackle was not cited, explaining that this meant there was an agreement between all the officials that this did not warrant a red card.
“It’s important to note as well that it wasn’t cited because the Citing Commissioner also has all the angles,” Owens added.
“So there’s alignment between the officials on and off the field. The TMOs are always working in the background, and in his view, he does not have clear evidence to show that there was actually head contact. So again, it comes down simply to your view.”