Ireland fans weren’t particularly impressed with Nigel Owens’ performance as a TMO during England and Ireland’s clash at Twickenham, with one ‘strange call’ in particular rousing the ire of the green army.


Eddie Jones’ England ran out convincing winners – with an 18 – 7 scoreline flattering the visitors. A late Jacob Stockdale aside, Ireland failed to really threaten the home side for much of the 80 minutes, but it was a call TMO Owens that got under the skin of some Irish fans.

Owens alerted referee Pascal Gauzere to an infringement by Ireland lock Quinn Roux, after the big South African born forward appeared to swing England’s Tom Curry out of ruck by the neck. It was a minor enough incident – a technical infringement certainly – but one that not so long ago would have been seen as part and parcel of the game.

None-the-less, it was blown up as a penalty, but it was enough to upset some Irish fans and a few pundits, with many annoyed that a very similar infringement a few minutes previously by England hooker Jamie George was called up.

“Ireland 4 grabs England 7 around the neck,” wrote journalist Pat McCarry. “Needless but tame enough from Roux. Still, where was Nigel Owens when Jamie George locked in a choke-hold on Keenan?!”

“What a ridiculous call by Nigel Owens to give that against Quinn Roux but not penalise Jamie George in the first half.”


“Totally ridiculous interference from Nigel Owens. It was round the body not neck,” said another.

And there were more in that vein:


There’s was also some frustration regarding the length of time it took for Owens to adjudge an attempting grounding of the ball by Chris Farrell to have not touched the line.

Owens is set to hang up his boots and while he had some critics today, he’s still by some distance rugby’s most well-known, well-liked and arguably the best official in the business.

Mailing List

Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.

Sign Up Now