With a momentous win in the bag, England head coach Eddie Jones’ could hardly be blamed for a quick snipe on the final whistle – it wouldn’t be Eddie without one. With that said, one of his comments has left fans a little confused – the ‘captain’s challenge’.
‘We had a captain’s challenge! A new thing in rugby. We weren’t told about that law,’ Jones told ITV Sport’s Martin Bayfield after the match.
'We had a captain's challenge! A new thing in rugby. We weren't told about that law'
Eddie Jones on fine form after a simply sensational match
— ITV Rugby (@ITVRugby) March 13, 2021
It’s left plenty of fans scratching their heads on social media.
What the heck is the Captain's challenge Eddie Jones has just got excited about ? #ENGvFRA
— Andrew Tindle (@tindlea) March 13, 2021
— RugbyWobble (@saltynorzz) March 13, 2021
? ? Eddie with the Captain's challenge comments. Jokes. #ENGvFRA
— Live tweets from the Underground (@chairmanMAO_92) March 13, 2021
Never heard of a Captain's Challenge. Shame we didn't have half a dozen of them in the Wales game. ?
— MegaVegan (@vegan_mega) March 13, 2021
Sorry, WTF a captains challenge, mate?
— Tariq McFadzean (@tariqmc) March 13, 2021
The law does exist, but not in any northern hemisphere competition. At least not yet.
The captain’s challenge or ‘captain referral’ is currently being trialled in Super Rugby Aotearoa. This law variant has been introduced in several sports and New Zealand Rugby are trialling it in rugby with each team given one referral which can be activated in one of three scenarios: any decision in the last five minutes of the game, an infringement in the build-up to a try or foul play.
It has been used in rugby league and cricket and could be used in rugby union should it prove popular or at least useful in New Zealand.
It’s not entirely clear what incident Jones was referring to with the jibe though.
It could have been the TMO’ing of Itoje’s late try or a decision by referee Andrew Brace to change a late penalty decision. Jones, who had in the first half been ordered away from the touchline after coming down from the stands, was clearly fired up all match.
“Fair play to Andrew Brace for changing that decision against Earl don’t often see refs do that!”, wrote Andy Goode on Twitter.
Fair play to Andrew Brace for changing that decision against Earl don’t often see refs do that! #ENGvFRA
— Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) March 13, 2021
In the end it didn’t matter, but has anyone ever seen the ref change his mind on a breakdown call like that before? If it’s a new thing I’m all in on it, the breakdown has been a mess for far too long. #ENGvFRA
— The Sporting Angle (@SportingAngle) March 13, 2021
Needless to say, any Jones ire quickly turned to glee when Anthony Watson kicked the ball dead to seal the England victory in the 80th minute.
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