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Nigel Owens' previous stance may explain illegality in the Mapimpi tackle

By Sam Smith
Marika Koroibete tackle Mapimpi Wallabies vs Springboks

Wallabies wing Marika Koroibete’s missile-like try-saving tackle on Makazole Mapimpi has come under the spotlight.

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The flying Fijian-born Wallaby sent Mapimpi cartwheeling over while popping the ball free in a spectacular collision late in the first half.

The tackle could have ended dangerously for Mapimpi and questions were asked over whether there was a wrap by the Australian winger.

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A large portion of South African fans thought the tackle was a shoulder charge that warranted a yellow card punishment and possibly a penalty try.

On review of the tape the match officials deemed there appeared to be an attempt with the arms by Koroibete, particularly the left arm around the midriff.

Lost in the review was consideration for the Springbok winger’s influence in what became a hairy collision.

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Mapimpi appeared to launch himself airborne a split second before contact in what appeared to be an effort to leap or jump over the arriving tackler.

The Springbok planted both feet at the same time and propelled himself upward which is deemed illegal.

Well regarded former referee Nigel Owens explained his stance on this after England wing Jonny May jumped in the act of scoring against Italy in 2021.

“Diving for the line to score a try is allowed,” he explained on Twitter.

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“Jumping in the air to avoid a tackle is not.

“May jumps up to avoid tackle first which is not diving for the line.”

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