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Nigel Owens on the 'dangerous outcome' red card for Antoine Dupont

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Sylvain Thomas/AFP via Getty Images)

Nigel Owens has given his verdict on the red card shown to Antoine Dupont in last weekend’s win for France in the Autumn Nations Series against the Springboks. Referee Wayne Barnes red-carded the 2021 world player of the year for his illegal collision with the aerial Cheslin Kolbe and he has since been banned for four matches – a suspension that doesn’t include the opportunity for him to get the last game scratched if he attends tackle school.

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The match was a record-breaking occasion for ref Barnes as it was his 101st Test game, pushing him past the 100-cap mark set by Owens before his retirement. The Welsh official acknowledged this milestone on the latest edition of his Whistle Watch series and he then went on to discuss the 48th-minute Dupont red card decision.

“Another red card in the France game, Wayne Barnes getting his 100th cap, passing me, about time too,” quipped Owens before addressing the red card that was brandished to Dupont with France leading 19-13 in a match they went on to win 30-26.

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“Now what we have here is a dangerous outcome. A player up in the air goes for the ball. Dupont is always on the ground, still looking at the ball. He then causes Kolbe to go over and land in a dangerous position.

“The duty of care is on the player on the ground. You have to be aware that what you are doing may cause something dangerous to happen. So in this instance here, Wayne Barnes felt that Dupont put himself in the position and caused Kolbe to fall in a dangerous position and therefore gives a red card.

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“Now the interesting thing here about the (Pieter-Steph) du Toit and the Dupont red cards is you could really look at these two and say there is no intent here, they haven’t tried to do something dangerous, haven’t tried to do dirty in the game. That is irrelevant. As a referee you can’t judge on intent, you have to judge on the outcome of what has happened.”

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