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Sunday Sep 19, 2021

Austin Healey says new laws don't encourage player honesty after Exeter incident

Exeter lock Sean Lonsdale has been praised for his honesty and gamesmanship during Saturday’s Premiership game against Leicester Tigers.

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Lonsdale carried over the Tigers try line in the second half at Welford Road when he was held up by two Leicester players directly under the posts.

Referee Ian Tempest blew his whistle and was unsure whether the second row had successfully scored a try or not and asked Lonsdale if he needed to go for a TMO referral.

However rather than waste time going to the big screen Lonsdale declared to Tempest that he was held up by Leicester and did not score the try, which the referee was grateful for.

However while Tempest appreciated the Chiefs player’s honestly, commentator Austin Healy pointed out that it wasn’t a good idea by Lonsdale under the new laws which have been introduced this season.

The new ruling states that if a player is held up over the line then it’s a goal-line drop out for the opposition and Healey suggested that it was a bad idea to give the opposition any opportunity to take it quickly.

“That’s good honesty but you won’t get players doing that anymore because if there’s a quick one [goal-line drop out] then you’ve got to sprint back to get in position. I hope they still do, and fair play for doing it, but in that scenario what you don’t want is let the opposition take a quick one.”

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Leicester went on to win the game 34-19 in the opening round of the 2021/22 Premiership season under new captain Ellis Genge and fly half George Ford received praise from director of rugby Steve Borthwick.

“George [Ford] controlled that game for large parts of it. It was great to see him back fit and performing as well as that,” said Borthwick. “He controlled that game brilliantly.”

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