Owen Farrell satisfied late tackle in South Africa win was legal
‘It’s hard to wrap your arms around… but I tried to’: Owen Farrell satisfied his controversial late tackle in England win over South Africa was legal
- Owen Farrell’s world went into slow motion as he waited for verdict on his tackle
- The official ruled that Farrell had used his left arm, and it was a legal challenge
- Farrell’s punch of the air when he was given the decision showed his delight
Owen Farrell’s world went into slow motion as he waited for the verdict on the final play tackle that threatened to hand South Africa a decisive shot at goal at Twickenham.
With the game already into the ‘red zone’ after 80 minutes’ play, England’s co-captain snuffed out an attack in a heavy collision with Springboks’ replacement Andre Esterhuizen in kick-able range.
A no-arms tackle ruling from Olly Hodges, the television match official, would have given Handre Pollard a potentially match-winning shot at goal – but the official ruled that Farrell had used his left arm in the process, as he successfully tried to dislodge the ball.
Owen Farrell’s world went into slow motion as he waited for the verdict on his late tackle
The official ruled that Farrell had used his left arm in the tackle, and it was a legal challenge
Farrell’s punch of the air when he was given the decision, and the match, showed his delight
‘It went to the touch judge, he said check, and then it all slows down,’ Farrell said. ‘Sometimes you can take what you want from it. If you watch that full speed, he has a big run up on me and we both bounce off each other and end up on the floor.
‘It’s hard to wrap your arms around when you’re both hitting each other at that much force, but I tried to.’
Was Farrell satisfied that he used his arm sufficiently? ‘That’s what the referee said and that’s what is most important.’
Farrell’s punch of the air when he was given the referee’s decision, and with it the match, showed his delight.
He successfully kicked three out of his four penalties, the final one a superb effort from wide
He successfully kicked three out of his four penalties, the final one a superb effort from wide on the left eight minutes from time. Full-back Elliot Daly provided the other successful effort, from 50 metres.
‘He chips them over from there, no problem,’ said Farrell. ‘It doesn’t look hard for him and when you have a boot like that you don’t have to worry about whacking it too hard and you can just knock it over.’
It added up to a significant win for England, beaten 2-1 in Tests in South Africa in the summer and outgunned for long spells of this game.
Sibusiso Nkosi scored the game’s only try. England dug in to trail by only two points at the interval, when the players huddled together on the pitch before returning to the dressing room.
Mark Wilson, the unheralded Newcastle Falcons No 8, earned a deserved man of the match
‘We’ve been doing that more recently,’ Farrell said. ‘We just make sure we are calm enough to think clearly at half-time.
‘We felt like it was coming and you always get your chances in a big game like this. It was good, mentally very good, and we stuck at it when they seemed to have all the ascendancy in the first half. We made sure we fought hard and went into half-time feeling like it was going to come.
‘When you don’t have the ball you can feel sorry for yourselves, but I don’t think we did. I thought we stuck in it really well, fought hard for each other and got some chances.’
England fought hard, and were often overpowered, before earning a 12-11 victory on Saturday
England’s rookie pack included a back row combination with 10 caps between them. Mark Wilson, the unheralded Newcastle Falcons No 8, is viewed as only England’s third choice behind injured Billy Vunipola and suspended Nathan Hughes – but he carried off the man of the match award.
‘The pack worked hard. That staying in the fight was mainly them and they were brilliant,’ Farrell said. ‘They could have felt sorry for themselves and they didn’t – they were always up for it.
‘Wils is a brilliant, hard-working player and you know he will give everything every time and that was no different today.’
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