Stuff.co.nz rugby writer Mark Reason has accused referee Nigel Owens of ‘playing God’ during the Test between the All Blacks and Springboks in Wellington.
While the All Blacks were upset that Owens did not penalise the Boks for offsides in the 82nd-minute, after getting a message from one of his assistant referees, the visitors certainly did not get the rub of the green from the officials in their 36-34 win.
‘South Africa were absolutely done in by Nigel Owens,’ wrote Reason in a column for stuff.co.nz. ‘The All Blacks scored a first-half try [by Rieko Ioane] preceded by a colossal [Anton] Lienert-Brown knock-on. And Owens gave the All Blacks seven consecutive second-half penalties in the space of 22 minutes, half of which were absurd.
‘He gave [Willie] le Roux a yellow card extremely harshly. He was offside, but since when can’t you dive to make a tackle. But the most ridiculous moment was when South Africa regained possession on their line and Owens blew his whistle. Owens had made no prior ruling. He was giving the All Blacks a chance to win phase possession. But when it went the other way, Owens made a retrospective ruling.
‘This was referee not ruling on what he saw, but playing God. We have seen it twice before from Owens and it is completely unacceptable. He should be warned for it. Happily for South Africa, Owens did not deny them a deserved victory, he just narrowed the margin.’
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