A British and Irish Lions star at the centre of the penalty controversy that ultimately led to a drawn series against the All Blacks in 2017 has revealed former New Zealand skipper Kieran Read snubbed him for two years following the decisive third test.
Wales hooker Ken Owens was penalised in the 78th minute of the final test of the three-match series for touching the ball in an offside position with the score locked up at 15-all.
However, after reviewing footage of the incident, the ruling was reduced to an accidental offside by referee Romain Poite, who subsequently handed the All Blacks a scrum feed rather than a potential match-winning penalty shot at goal.
Read, who was playing in his 100th test for the All Blacks, protested the decision, but his cries fell on deaf ears as the Kiwis failed to score from the ensuing set piece, with the match – and series – finishing in a stalemate.
The 127-test veteran described the draw as “heart-wrenching”, and claimed that Owens’ indiscretion “has been an offside for a long time” in the post-match press conference.
In an interview with Joe’s House of Rugby podcast, Owens said he “went into the New Zealand changing room afterwards to congratulate Kieran Read on his 100th cap and he wouldn’t really speak to me”.
“To be fair, he did apologise after the third place play-off at the  World Cup. There were obviously emotions running high at the time.”
“Just before it happened, I was going ‘Right boys, exit now, let’s restart, get the ball back down the field, switch on’ and all the rest of it,” he told Joe’s House of Rugby.
“Basically, don’t f*** up and then I f***** up!
“I went straight to Jonathan Davies, who is one of my best mates, and I said I am going to have to move to Trellech – which is about 17 miles out of Carmarthen, the most rural part of the county – and like hide away for the rest of my life.”
While he hasn’t had to adopt the life of a hermit in the years since the incident, Owens said that referee Poite hasn’t forgotten that match in Auckland three years ago.
“When Romain Poite refs me now, he does drop in a little quip every now and again, with ‘Stay onside this time, Ken’ or something like that!”
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