Referee Nigel Owens Has His Say On Wales’ Two Controversial Tries In England Win
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Referee Nigel Owens has had his say on Wales’ two controversial tries against England in the Six Nations yesterday evening – and the Welshmen believes neither try should have stood.
The opening try of the game came following some quick thinking from Wales outhalf Dan Biggar who put Josh Adams in at the corner following a pinpoint crossfield kick.
But the build-up was controversial. Seconds earlier referee Pascal Gauzere stopped the clock after instructing England captain Owen Farrell to talk to his players following a number of infringements. He then blew time on despite the fact that the England players were still in a huddle.
Farrell was outraged and made his thoughts known and Owens believes he had every right to be annoyed.
“It’s an interesting one,” Owens told WalesOnline.
“The referee clearly says ‘Time on’, so then Biggar is quite entitled to do what he does quickly. But I think Owen Farrell’s point here is correct.
“If you are asking the captain to speak to his team, I certainly wouldn’t restart time until I have given them time to line up in defence.
“The only reason they are in a huddle under the posts is you have told the captain to speak to his players and he puts time off for them to do that.
“So, you can’t put time back on then while they are still in the huddle. You are not giving them the time to line up to defend. It’s an unfair advantage.
“I would have allowed them to reset before I put time on. It’s only fair that you do that because you have asked them to go in the huddle in the first place.”
As for the other controversial Welsh try which saw winger Lewis Rees-Zammit lose control of the ball and kick it backwards as it was falling, eventually leading to Liam Williams scoring – Owens says it was “100%” a knock-on because the youngster had clearly lost control of the ball.
“It was definitely a knock-on,” Owens said of Williams’ try.
“You see situations sometimes where a player loses control of a ball and then kicks it before it hits the ground. Well, that’s still classed as a knock-on.
“What the law says is if a player loses control of the ball forward, he must regain possession of it before it touches the ground or anybody else.
“So, in this case, Rees-Zammit definitely touches the ball and it travels forward on to his calf, then goes backwards and then comes off an England player.
“So it has travelled forward off his hand first and he fails to regain possession of it, which means it’s a knock-on. If it hits his hand and goes backwards, then it’s play on.
“But it hits his hand, the ball is still travelling forward and then it hits his calf and goes backwards.
“So, in law, he loses control of the ball forward and then fails to regain possession of it before it touches the ground or anybody else, so it’s a knock-on.
“If anybody wants an answer on it, look at Rees-Zammit’s face when they award the try.
“It’s 100 per cent a knock-on.”