Old footage surfaces showing Owen Farrell pulling off same move as Dan Biggar
It may have infuriated him when Wales’ flyhalf Dan Biggar crossfield kicked when England were in a referee-directed huddle at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, but old footage shows that it is a trick that Owen Farrell himself has deployed in the past.
Biggar kicking for winger Josh Adams to score in the first half of Wales v England in last weekend’s Guinness Six Nations, despite Owen Farrell being directed to address his players over the number of infringements they were making, was the biggest single talking point in the aftermath of what was a dramatic and controversial game. Critics felt that referee Pascal Gauzere had effectively done England dirty by allowing Biggar to play on, despite clearly asking Farrell to bring his players in.
“Every single water carrier was on the field,” Farrell pleaded with Gauzere following the try. “You’ve got to give us time to set!” Even former Wales captain Sam Warburton told his BBC commentary colleagues at halftime that he “would be livid if I was Owen Farrell and England.”
Yet Andrew Forde on Twitter has pulled footage of Farrell doing exactly the same thing for Saracens against Edinburgh in the Champions Cup. Saracens bagged a 40-7 victory over Edinburgh at a snowy Vicarage Road in 2013, but one try, in particular, stands out.
Greig Laidlaw is sent to talk to his players and spotting the opportunity, a young Farrell asks referee Jérôme Garcès if he can play on.
He does so and kicks for Chris Ashton to collect and dive in for a try.
But I thought Owen Farrell said you couldn’t do this until water carriers were off and the defensive line was set?!? pic.twitter.com/cpzZDM9MDT
— Andrew Forde (@andrewfrugby) March 3, 2021
While it doesn’t speak to the legality, the mode of refereeing, or moral merits of such incidents, it does at least show that Farrell is more than happy to the same thing when the boot is literally on the other foot.
In any event, Gauzere appears to have acknowledged it as a mistake, with World Rugby’s Head of Match Officials, Joel Jutge, making public a conversation the pair had earlier this week. “I believe one has to be transparent and not let things drag on and say what one thinks. There were two unfortunate events during the match which were tough cases to handle. Pascal Gauzere recognised as such when he spoke to me on the phone,” Jutge said.
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