Referee Nigel Owens Makes Owen Farrell Plea & Has Some Advice For Maro Itoje
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Referee Nigel Owens has called for people to “stop having a go” at England captain Owen Farrell following his latest outburst with referee Pascal Gauzere.
Farrell has become known for being a very vocal captain who likes to get in a referees ear at any given opportunity and challenge decisions he feels should not have gone against his side.
He made headlines once again last weekend in England’s defeat to Wales when he complained to referee Pascal Gauzere about not being given enough time to get their defensive line ready after he instructed Farrell to speak to his team, leading to Wales scoring the opening try.
Now writing in his Daily Mail column, Owens has pleaded with people to stop complaining about Farrell, who he has the utmost respect for.
“People need to stop having a go at Owen Farrell,” Owens wrote.
“I can only speak from my own experience of refereeing him and, when I did, he was an excellent captain to deal with. I have a huge amount of respect for him as a player and a person. He always knew where the line was with me.
“I would say to him that he could always come and talk to me as long as it was at the right time and in the right tone and he always did that.
“There are a lot of other captains who are in the referee’s ear. It is the captain’s job to challenge the referee if he feels his side is getting hard done by, if he feels they are being punished at the offside line but the opposition aren’t. What is important is that it is done in the right manner.
“Owen always did that with me. I have seen other games where he has been in the referee’s ear at the wrong times and that he may need to address. That is also down to the referee to deal with it and stop it happening.”
As for Itoje, Owens has some advice for the lock who has come under scrutiny for his huge penalty count in games.
“It is difficult to tell Itoje not to bring the same confrontation and aggression to the game that he usually does, even after giving away five penalties against Wales,” Owens added.
“It would take away from his game. You don’t want him to change the way he plays but he needs to pick and choose when he gambles on the situation and when he doesn’t.
“And understand better those moments when you are under pressure and knowing when, if you take a risk and get it wrong, you will land your team in real trouble.”