Nigel Owens gives his verdict on controversial Eben Etzebeth try
There have been plenty of talking points in the fallout of England’s humiliating 27-13 loss to the Springboks in London on Saturday, mainly the future of Eddie Jones, but Eben Etzebeth’s second-half try has probably been second on that list.
The lock’s try has proven to be highly controversial, so thankfully refereeing legend Nigel Owens has tried to clear things up this week on his latest episode of Whistle Watch.
This is what he said: “A lot of you have been talking on social media about Eben Etzebeth’s try in the England versus South Africa game. There was a lot going on here. First of all what we have, look at Owen Farrell, does he roll away and give a clear release which means the ball carrier can then place the ball quickly and away if he wants to.
“Then you have the question, does Faf de Klerk actually knock the ball on? And then Etzebeth, when he scores the try, is actually still on the ground. So there’s a lot of things here for the referee to process.
“Now the key thing here to start off with, Etzebeth cannot play that ball until he gets back on his feet. Which means then the try should not have been allowed because Etzebeth is still on the ground and the most important law in rugby, which everyone knows, if you’re on the ground, you’re out of the game.
“So let’s sum it all up then, three things going on. First offence, Owen Farrell not releasing and rolling away. Itoje, he’s on his feet, he should be allowed to win that jackal turnover. Etzebeth then scores a try, he should be on his feet before he plays the ball. So, try should not have been given, the penalty would have been to Itoje, but you go back to the first offence which was a penalty against Owen Farrell for not releasing and rolling away. If the referee felt that was cynical play, then a yellow card might have followed for Farrell as well.
“To sum it all up for you, no try but a penalty against England five metres out.”
Watch the video here: