Question marks have been raised around Nigel Owens’ performance in the PRO14 Final after he controversially decided to issue a yellow card to Rob Kearney.
Leinster ran out 18 – 15 victors at Celtic Park in Glasgow, but the game was not without controversy – not least the yellow card awarded to Kearney in the 65th minute.
The Leinster fullback hit opposite number Stuart Hogg in the air, who appeared to land dangerously following the collision. After review, Owens decided a yellow was sufficient.
Many believe on Twitter that Kearney’s challenge warranted a game-changing red card, including former England flyhalf and RugbyPass columnist Andy Goode.
Goode tweeted: “How’s this not a red card for Rob Kearney? Hogg lands on his head yet Nigel Owens only gives a yellow?”
How’s this not a red card for Rob Kearney? Hogg lands on his head yet Nigel Owens only gives a yellow? https://t.co/CnZJoi7jqO
— Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) May 25, 2019
No arms tackle with zero attempt at the ball and in mid-air and Nigel Owens gives a yellow ?? terrible referee… Red Card – done that on the street and you get assault and battery ?? #GlavLei
— David Smith (@Smith_LoveWins) May 25, 2019
— Three Red Kings (@threeredkings) May 25, 2019
Among the many fans to unleash on referee Nigel Owens was Scottish MP Gavin Newlands who labeled the decision a ‘shocker’, with others describing it as ‘terrible’, ‘dreadful’ and a ‘disgrace’.
You know I'm not entirely sure that @Nigelrefowens actually knows how to ref the scrum. Leinster totally playing him at that this evening. And how the Hogg tackle in the air isn't a red card I will never know. Leinster player not to know how Hogg will land. A shocker. #GLAvLEI
— Gavin Newlands MP (@GavNewlandsSNP) May 25, 2019
65 mins Rob Kearney of Leinster lucky not to be red carded for taking Stuart Hogg out in the air . A yellow card given to him by Nigel Owens was the wrong decision. Dreadful call by “the best ref in the world.”
— Rob Robertson (@SDM_Robertson) May 25, 2019
He didn't land on his back , it was a red card all day , yes the rules need changed , how about not having the same scrum for 6 mins and putting Nigel Owens out to pasture he was fucking awful tonight the penalty count against Glasgow was a disgrace.
— Col Wilson LFC (@RepublicOfAlba_) May 25, 2019
Nigel Owens has had a mare ? Red all day long #GLAvLEI
— Eoin Sheedy (@_Sheedy_) May 25, 2019
Terrible decision by Nigel Owens….that should be straight red card for Kearney. Awful stuff #GLAvLEI
— David McCorquodale (@Corky0456) May 25, 2019
Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie suggested early signs were that Hogg was badly concussed.
“Hoggy went off for a HIA.
“He was ruled out immediately. He had a loss of vision and felt he was going to spew. So the match doctor and our doctor ruled him out immediately. He was ruled out before he even got to the sideline.
“I think if we had played better we might have seen him bow out in a better manner. The disappointing thing from our point of view is that we could have played a lot better because we only lost by three.
“We’re disappointed and disappointed for Hoggy.”
Rennie questioned the consistency of decisions regarding aerial contests, which seemed to be different every game.
“These decisions seem different every time you see a game. I guess the telling thing from that was that we lost Hoggy from that incident.
“The officials saw it as a yellow. We’ll have to live with that and no doubt there will be more debate about it.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now