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'That must stop': Nigel Owens takes aim at England captain Owen Farrell after his antics against Italy

By Sam Smith
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Former rugby referee Nigel Owens has taken aim at England captain Owen Farrell in a passionate column written in the Daily Mail UK and the refereeing in round two of the Six Nations so far.

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England bounced back from a historic 11-6 loss to Scotland in the opening round of the Six Nations last weekend, by beating Italy 41-18 at Twickenham. The win keeps their title hopes alive for now, as they look towards a crucial test against rivals Wales in two weeks’ time.

But writing in his Daily Mail column, Owens didn’t hold back as he expressed his concerns about the state of the game.

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Owen Farrell is honest about England’s Six Nations title chances.

Notably, Owens was seemingly disappointed with how Farrell was speaking to the referee in the win over Italy, and how it was allowed to continue.

Owens wrote that despite him having “huge respect for Owen Farrell both as a player and a person”, that “there was too much chat from him to the referee. That must stop.”

“He never did that with me. Every time I referee, I tell the players that there is a time and a place for a conversation,” Owens wrote for the Daily Mail.

“If they want to discuss something, they have to do it in the right manner. That is one of the game’s values.

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“It is up to the referees to keep strong and stay on top of things like that. We don’t want to see it creeping in.”

The match also wasn’t without controversy, with Owens’ sharing his views on a controversial incident involving Farrell.

Owens, who recently retired after officiating his 100th test match, suggested that the England captain was fortunate to get away with a late hit on Italian scrumhalf Stephen Varney.

The incident occurred just before the try to Anthony Watson early in the second half.

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“He was also fortunate not to be penalised for his late hit on the Italy scrumhalf…He knows the ball has been passed and he followed through to let him know he was there.

“It’s a penalty so England’s try that followed should not have stood.”

Owens also expressed his frustrations with other refereeing decisions.

Sour incidents somewhat outshone both of England and Wales’ wins, with Jack Willis having sustained a seemingly significant knee injury.

“You cannot target someone’s knees. Teams have been using judo coaches to teach players how to roll people away from the contact area. That should not be allowed.” Owens wrote.

“We need to go back to refereeing the law. It is illegal to collapse a ruck. It is illegal to enter below hip height.

“That would stop crocodile rolls like this happening, which will stop horrific injuries like this one.”

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'That must stop': Nigel Owens takes aim at England captain Owen Farrell after his antics against Italy

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