Nigel Owens adds more controversy with say on France winner versus Boks
As insufferable as Rassie Erasmus has been this week, the Springboks director of rugby might have actually had a point when it came to France’s hugely debatable winning try against the Boks on Saturday.
Prop Sipili Falatea scored what most of the world thought was a double movement. Most of the world except referee Wayne Barnes, who somehow lost communication with the TMO at that crucial time. France won 30-26 in Marseille, so that late try basically decided the match.
Knowing how divisive this try has proven to be, Nigel Owens wisely decided to sit on the fence this week in his latest episode of Whistle Watch. The Welshman gave both sides of the argument without giving his verdict, which only adds more controversy, as supporters on either side of the ‘try or no try’ debate have had their views supported.
Then again, given how controversial the decision has proven to be, it was probably a smart idea by him.
“If we look at Sipili Falatea’s try in the France versus South Africa game, late in the game, people have been asking ‘why is this not a double movement’?” he said.
“Well, it’s a very, very interesting one and I have to say it’s a very, very difficult one to judge as well. What you certainly have is a ball carrier who may not be tackled, but is in a position where he’s not supporting his bodyweight. So, if you felt that he was tackled, or he was on the ground, he’s only allowed then to place out in one movement.
“If you felt there was another movement, and then another movement, whilst he was on the ground, then you would look at the try being disallowed. If you felt that it was momentum, he was actually going to ground and then managed to get over, like Wayne Barnes saw, then you would give the try.
“So I’m afraid to tell you, it’s really one of those difficult ones which are very, very tough to call. And the thing people have been asking, why didn’t the TMO come in and why didn’t they look at this again? Well, the TMO couldn’t come in because the communication system was down at that time, so the referee couldn’t hear the TMO and the TMO couldn’t speak to the referee. Wayne Barnes is there on the spot and gives the decision as he sees it. So, it’s one of those really, really tough ones to make.”
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