Owen Farrell’s problematic tackling technique and the apparent unwillingness of rugby authorities to take him to task over his shoulder charges are in the spotlight once again.


The Saracens playmaker only received a penalty after making contact with the neck area of Worcester’s Tom Howe in his side’s one-sided 62 – 5 thrashing of Worcester Warriors.

It is the latest in a long line of questionable decision around Farrell’s tackling.

The contact was referred to referee Craig Maxwell-Keys who ruled after viewing the TMO footage that Farrell had started low and risen up, giving rise to “mitigating circumstances”.

To make matters worse, Worcester lock Anton Bresler was sin-binned just minutes later for an apparent dangerous clear-out on Mako Vunipola. The Saracens prop was floored from the incident and Bresler was given his marching orders.

Many online were left questioning how Farrell appeared to yet again evade ay significant sanction, despite his shoulder making contact with the head and neck area of a player and with no obvious wrapping of the arms.


Rugby legal expert and concussion advocate Tim O’Connor tweeted: “And then you notice that what you see by the tackled player’s head is not a royal-blue hoarding but the black jersey on Farrell’s shoulder.”


Others however defended the decision not to card the England star.



Farrell’s tackling was far from Saracens DoR Mark McCall mind after the game.  McCall admitted the setback at Sandy Park the previous week had hurt the club as they continue their desperate battle against relegation.

“When we looked at the Exeter performance properly, it was really frustrating to see our lack of intensity at crucial points,” McCall said.

“We were outworked by Exeter so fair play to them for that, but it’s something we don’t want to happen.

“We want to play with intensity and properly work hard and as we saw here that gives you a lot of good things in rugby. We enjoyed it and we want to enjoy our rugby.

“We did that in the first 30 minutes and got a lot of rewards. The second half was very disjointed because of all the injuries.”

RugbyPass/additional reporting PA

One of Welsh Rugby’s biggest characters on and off the pitch, RugbyPass travelled to Brecon to see how life after rugby is treating Andy Powell.

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