Referee Angus Gardner Makes Huge Admission Regarding Infamous Owen Farrell Tackle
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I got it wrong.
Referee Angus Gardner has admitted he was wrong to allow Owen Farrell escape unpunished for a controversial tackle on Andre Esterhuizen in England’s narrow win over South Africa earlier this month.
Farrell made a tackle in the final moments of the game that to most was illegal, with the England outhalf leading with his shoulder and failing to wrap his arms in the hit.
But Gardner on the day felt he saw enough of a wrap to let Farrell away with it, denying the Springboks a kickable penalty in the final seconds to snatch victory.
“I think in hindsight now, having discussed it with some other referees… I think the general consensus would be that a penalty was probably the outcome there that should have been given,” Gardner told Rupert Cox on the Will Greenwood podcast.
“I think we need to see a wrap with both arms, and I think in hindsight – although he got pinned – there wasn’t a big enough wrap from both arms, really. There was a wrap with one arm, but there wasn’t a wrap with the other arm.”
Asked why he saw it different on November 3, Gardner, who was named Referee of the Year at the World Rugby awards on Sunday, replied:
“The angles that I saw with the TMO, which were the head-on angles, showed a clear wrap of the front arm, but it was the back arm which got pinned.”
“Of the angles that I was showed in the stadium at the time, that seemed to me to be enough of a wrap for me to constitute a legal tackle.”
“It was never high, and so all we were looking at was the tackle technique. The collision itself also kind of swayed my decision because it was a big rugby collision, and we see these hits in the game.”
Farrell was also criticised for a tackle in the win over Australia on Saturday leading many to point out he must alter his technique before he inevitably costs England dearly.