Quins’ 120kg lock creates social media storm after shocking challenge is ignored
The BT Sport commentary team’s screams of horror followed by Ugo Monye’s cries of “What!? WHAT!?” said it all at the Stoop on Saturday as Harlequins beat London Irish.
Quins pulled off a trademark comeback finish, winning 26-24 with a last minute try after trailing 14-0 at half time, but it was clouded in controversy.
With just seconds of the match remaining and with Quins trailing 24-21, they were trying everything to score a try from their own half. The game looked like it was about to finish when Andre Esterhuizen was getting driven into touch, but he flung the ball over his head. Irish centre Benhard van Rensburg jumped up to pluck the ball out of the air, but before his feet could touch the ground, Quins lock Charlie Matthews pulled him down, making him land face first on the ground.
It was a very nasty looking challenge from the lock, who had lost the competition in the air. The strangest thing was that referee Craig Maxwell-Keys let play continue despite the entire incident happening just feet away from him.
Play was eventually stopped so van Rensburg could be treated, but it only got worse because Quins won a penalty from the scrum to restart the game, and kicked to the corner, eventually leading to their match winning try. The commentary team could not believe it, with Lawrence Dallaglio saying it was a penalty.
Dallaglio was not alone though, with this incident creating quite a storm on Twitter. Plenty of people think it was far worse than just a penalty and deserved a card. This was already in a game where the Exiles’ Ben Donnell and Quins’ Nick David had both been red carded to high tackles.
Some think it was a penalty, some think it was a yellow card, and some think it was a red card, but what is clear is that the vast majority of people cannot believe Matthews got away with it.
Take a look:
Game deciding moment here and the ref and TMO got this completely wrong! How is this not a penalty and yellow/red card? London Irish will be raging! pic.twitter.com/kZ6zQmri8o
— Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) October 30, 2022
15. Nick David, 14. Joe Marchant, 13. Lennox Anyanwu, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Josh Bassett, 10. Tommy Allan, 9. Danny Care, 1. Joe Marler, 2. Jack Musk, 3. Wilco Louw, 4. George Hammond, 5. Irne Herbst, 6. Jack Kenningham, 7. Will Evans, 8. Alex Dombrandt
Replacements: 16. George Head, 17. Fin Baxter, 18. Simon Kerrod, 19. Charlie Matthews, 20. Archie White, 21. Lewis Gjaltema, 22. Will Edwards, 23. Oscar Beard
London Irish XV
15 Tom Parton, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Benhard van Rensburg, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson (c), 9 Caolan Englefield, 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 2 Mike Willemse, 3 Lovejoy Chawatama, 4 Chunya Munga, 5 Rob Simmons, 6 Josh Basham, 7 Ben Donnell, 8 So’otala Fa’aso’o.
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Api Ratuniyarawa, 20 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Lucio Cinti, 23 James Stokes.