Nigel Owens gives verdict on controversial soft penalty
By Rugby Onslaught

Nigel Owens gives verdict on controversial soft penalty

Of all the penalties in the most recent round of Guinness Six Nations, the most bizarre, and probably most controversial, was the decision to penalise Italy lock Niccolo Cannone for basically standing still and having Ireland scrum-half Craig Casey run into him.

At the time it seemed very soft to all those watching the match, and Nigel Owens’ recent take on the incident has only supported those views. The refereeing great weighed in on the topic in World Rugby’s latest episode of Whistle Watch and after watching, Italy players and fans can feel hard done by. Fortunately for Italy, the decision did not prove to be too costly, as Ireland did not score a try from their subsequent kick to the corner.

Owens said: “The Cannone penalty- people think it was a bit harsh, he did nothing wrong. Well did he? Let’s have a look at it. What Cannone does is stand his ground, so it is a case of the Irish scrum-half running into Cannone, not Cannone making contact into the Irish No9. So this penalty was a little bit harsh and it shouldn’t have been given- it should have been play on, Cannone doing nothing wrong.”

Take a look:

Ireland came away 34-20 winners in Rome and took another step towards a Grand Slam. Following Scotland’s loss to France the day after, Andy Farrell’s side are the only possible candidates for the Grand Slam this year, although they face a tough trip to Edinburgh to face second place Scotland in round four before a clash with England at the Aviva Stadium on the final match of Super Saturday.

Italy, meanwhile, are in fifth place in the Championship, but face bottom place Wales next round in Rome in what is likely to be the decider of who is awarded the Wooden Spoon this year.