Nigel Owens explains why much-discussed Joe Marler tackle went unpunished
After red cards were shown to Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola in consecutive weeks, England achieved the rare feat of not being given a card against Fiji on Saturday at Twickenham, but it was not for the lack of trying.
Loosehead Joe Marler has been in the spotlight since England’s historic loss for a tackle he made on Albert Tuisue moments after coming on in the second half. There was no punishment in the match, nor after the match, though the Harlequin has undergone a trial by social media this week.
Refereeing great Nigel Owens has also chimed in on the topic in this week’s Whistle Watch, and explained why Marler was not punished and the reason is slightly more complex than it simply not being an illegal tackle.
He said: “Now some of you have been asking why Joe Marler was not yellow carded or maybe even red carded for his tackle in that game. Well, what we have here is that there was no clear evidence that there was contact or an illegal contact with the head or the neck area.
“So the TMO and the referee, they can only look at all the angles that are available. So if they don’t have any angles to show that there was contact to the head or the neck. Then we don’t have foul play and we don’t have then a sanction to follow.
“And just remember, we keep saying that we want players to get their tackles lower, but if we do make an upright tackle but there is no illegality, there’s no contact with the head, with the neck or it’s not above the shoulders, within the laws of the game that type of tackle is not illegal. But I also must stress we want the players to get those tackles lowered just in case they get it wrong and they do end up with a sanction or an injury to the player. But on this occasion, no evidence whatsoever to show that Marler did make illegal contact with the head or the neck, and that’s why there was no sanction.”