OWEN FARRELL’S CONTROVERSIAL tackle on South Africa’s Andre Esterhuizen ought to have been a penalty, according to the referee who initially spared the England fly-half any punishment.
England were leading 12-11 at Twickenham earlier this month when, with the clock having ticked beyond 80 minutes, Farrell put in a strong, shoulder-led challenge on the Springbok.
On-field official Angus Gardner consulted the TMO but decided there was no foul play, allowing Farrell and England to celebrate a narrow triumph to kick off their November series.
Farrell’s challenge caused widespread debate and, with the benefit of hindsight, Gardner believes he should have awarded the visitors the penalty that would have offered a chance to kick for the posts and snatch victory.
“I think in hindsight now, having discussed it with some other referees…I think the general consensus would be that a penalty was probably the outcome there that should have been given,” the Australian, crowned Referee of the Year at the World Ruby Awards, told the Will Greenwood podcast.
“I think we need to see a wrap with both arms, and I think in hindsight – although he got pinned – there wasn’t a big enough wrap from both arms, really. There was a wrap with one arm, but there wasn’t a wrap with the other arm.”