A final few minutes of madness surrounded England’s tense 12-11 win over South Africa in the opening match of their Autumn international campaign, with Owen Farrell’s massive tackle heavily scrutinised in the wrap-up, dividing opinions of fans and players alike.
England co-captain Dylan Hartley described the tackle as ‘a good, physical hit’ and TMO decision was ‘never in doubt’ in his post-match interview.
Farrell faced a few nervous moments as the TMO reviewed it, waiting for a decision in angst.
“I imagine so, especially when they slow it down and slow motion it on the big screen,” said the England flyhalf.
“It was just a collision, I tried to wrap my hands around him but he was too quick.”
Referee Angus Gardner’s decision not to award a penalty was applauded by some and criticised by many more, leaving pundits divided over the tackle.
Weird criticism for Owen Farrell tonight. Tackle in 80th minute was a yellow card offence, as I saw it, and England’s tackling technique in general was questionable, but it was an otherwise excellent performance. Even better on second viewing, especially the rip on Lood de Jager.
— Alex Shaw (@alexshawsport) November 3, 2018
— Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) November 3, 2018
Mad the amount of people kicking off about that Owen Farrell tackle, if that's a penalty the game is dead
— Bobby Cook (@BobbyCook99) November 3, 2018
— Brandon___ (@Brandon_Pye_) November 3, 2018
Ex-England halfback Matt Dawson said that if the shoe was on the other foot, England’s players would be crying foul.
“If it was role reversal here and a South African had smashed one of the England players we would be asking for a penalty, but we will take it,” he said.
England coach Eddie Jones was a bit apprehensive during the TMO review but called the hit a ‘good solid tackle’.
“I was thinking I hope he doesn’t penalise us. It was a good solid tackle. It’s not for me to adjudicate,” he said.
Was Gardner’s decision correct?
England 12-11 South Africa
— Sky Sports Rugby (@SkySportsRugby) November 3, 2018
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