Referee Nigel Owens has provided more clarity on Jonny May’s spectacular try at the weekend against Italy – a score whose legality he questioned on Twitter.
The England winger produced another featly finish in the corner at Twickenham on Saturday, going airborne to avoid being bundled into touch by Luca Sperandio.
This has since created a split online between those who felt it was legal and those that felt he jumped into the tackle, as well as a rabbit hole relating to World Rugby Laws and directives.
Owens was called upon to give his opinion on Twitter, and the Welshman felt it was not a try: “If Jonny May dives to score then play on and try. If he jumps up first to avoid the tackle then it’s a penalty. So in my humble opinion it should be no try and pk to Italy.”
If Jonny May dives to score then play on and try. If he jumps up first to avoid the tackle then it’s a penalty. So in my humble opinion it should be no try and pk to Italy
— Nigel Owens MBE (@Nigelrefowens) February 14, 2021
But he has now gone into more depth on World Rugby’s Whistle Watch to help shed light on the laws surrounding jumping into a tackle and diving for a try.
“There’s been a lot of talk about Jonny May’s try,” he said.
“Now what you can’t do is jump into or jump over a tackle or would-be tackler, the same as you can’t dive or jump over a ruck to score a try. You need to decide if you think that Jonny May has actually jumped to avoid the tacke, then it should be no try. If you think he has done it in the action of scoring a try, then the try stands.
“Mike Adamson and his team of officials looked at it, they decided that he dived to score the try and therefore the try stands.”
Owens may be the most capped Test referee in the history of the game, but this shows that there are some things that still fall down to interpretation, and on this occasion the referee Mike Adamson felt the Englishman was in the process of diving.
England eventually ran out 41-18 winners in the second round of the Guinness Six Nations, but there may have been a lot more controversy after the match if the try had been pivotal to the final outcome of the match.
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