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Was Farrell's hit illegal?


Watch: Owen Farrell's monstrous game-saving hit that has divided the internet

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.

Farrell put a shot on a steaming Andre Esterhuizen that had the Springbok midfielder floored. Zach Mercer turned the ball over at the breakdown, allowing England to kick to touch and end the game.

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.

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?

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Watch: Owen Farrell's monstrous game-saving hit that has divided the internet