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.
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”.
Farrell’s got away with one here. pic.twitter.com/fugk4UNctf
— Robert Rees (@Rreesrugby) January 4, 2020
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.”
Well, “fella”, what you can see is he does not rise up.
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. pic.twitter.com/Ef2E11zbNk
— Tim O'Connor (@timoconnorbl) January 4, 2020
Literally a shoulder to the head/neck area ????? but it's Saracens and Farrell so whatever, brush it under the carpet, pay him loads of money and we'll all move on shall we?
— Scott & Bailey (@ScottBaileys) January 4, 2020
Farrell getting away with a high, no-arms shoulder hit? Surely not… https://t.co/KWz10mVVmz
— Josh Gardner (@joshgardner) January 4, 2020
Well well. Standard reffing again. Farrell head shot pen only. Bresler shoulder to chest bit no arm yellow. No contact to head either.
— Darren Birch (@DarrenBirch68) January 4, 2020
Farrell has made a career in getting away with shoulder to head tackles. https://t.co/JUehagxNHB
— Ian Titherington (@ianapharri) January 4, 2020
Look at the direction of the shoulder as he going in to tackle, with the direction you wouldn’t be able to make a wrap, so it’s a clear shoulder.
I’ve seen other and all much the same.
Farrell will get away with it. Until he gets punishment he’ll carry on.
— Victoria Squires (@VikkiSquires19) January 4, 2020
Ah, the branch of the decision tree that didn't fit into the pdf. Is Owen Farrell involved?
Yes: he doesnt have hands as far as we know so gets a free pass.
— Eoin Slattery (@slattsmachine) January 4, 2020
Its because his name is Owen Farrell the golden boy of English rugby he can do what he wants
— Ryan Devlin (@ryandevlin123) January 4, 2020
If a Sarries player said the sky was purple, the whole of rugby twitter would rightly point out that it is in fact blue – Sarries fans would argue that it was purple. Showing themselves up as some awful fans at the moment. Farrell smashes the lad in the face, with his shoulder ?
— Ian Alexander ??????? (@ianalex86) January 4, 2020
Maybe it will go down in folklore as 'Farrell'. The act of smashing another person in the face while using the shoulder yet being invisible to officials.
— mark thomas (@supertaf99) January 4, 2020
Others however defended the decision not to card the England star.
That’s the view from the other angle. We can rule out contact with the head, as, well, we can see his whole head beyond Farrell’s shoulder.
So the dispute is whether there is some contact with the neck, and whether it was the initial contact. For me it’s collar bone and chest. pic.twitter.com/Igvg9HaDIH
— Joe (@joesummer100) January 4, 2020
— Hugh Godwin (@hughgodwin_) January 4, 2020
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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