Referee Angus Gardner has admitted that he should have penalised England’s Owen Farrell for his controversial tackle on Bok centre André Esterhuizen.
Gardner was involved in the Test between England and South Africa at Twickenham on 3 November, where he chose not to penalise Farrell for a shoulder charge on Esterhuizen after the hooter.
Gardner, who was named as World Rugby’s Referee of the Year on Sunday, has conceded that he made a mistake.
‘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,’ Gardner admitted on 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.’
Gardner also sought to explain why he saw it differently in real time.
‘The angles that I saw with the TMO, which were the head-on angles, showed a clear wrap of the front arm, but it was the back arm which got pinned.
‘Of the angles that I was showed in the stadium at the time, that seemed to me to be enough of a wrap for me to constitute a legal tackle.
‘It was never high, and so all we were looking at was the tackle technique. The collision itself also kind of swayed my decision because it was a big rugby collision, and we see these hits in the game.’
Photo: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA