Ireland secured an incredible grand slam yesterday in an impressive win over old rivals England at the Aviva Stadium, in front of thousands of jubilant Irish fans on St Patrick’s day weekend.
Despite being pushed hard in the first half, the Irish started to pull away in the second half, in part thanks to the controversial sending off of Freddie Steward. Many fans and reporters expressed their disapproval of the refereeing decision to strike off the England full back, with the emphasis of the slow motion camera making the hit look worse than it was.
The game isn’t played in super bloody slow motion. Rugby is going to be ruined by punishment for accidents. Arms by his side, trying to twist away as he realises head contact coming a split-second before it happened.
— Chris Foy (@FoyChris) March 18, 2023
Ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous. In fact it’s complete and utter bollocks.
— Joe Marler (@JoeMarler) March 18, 2023
Despite referee Jaco Pegler being hot on Stewards hit, it appears that he may have missed one or two more in the game, possibly more deserving of a red. Lewis Ludlum was spotted by fans getting a face full of shoulder during a ruck right in front of Peyper, without any punishment.
And this is not contact to the head?? The double standards of referring is a joke! @EnglandRugby #ireeng #SixNations2023 pic.twitter.com/W0KMamWgBO
— Gav Cox (@theofficialcox) March 18, 2023
Fans from both sides were quick the express their disappointment in the quality of the refereeing:
I’m an Ireland fan (obviously) but I have to agree with you, both about that individual decision, and across the board. His judgements today were bloody awful. They always have been. He always goes with the crowd/stadium and the “mood music” Not strong enough to be an Intl Ref
— Arran Henderson (@arranqh) March 19, 2023
The performance of the ref and tmo just get worse and worse if you look into it. @TheRugbyPod @GoodBadRugby
— Sean Brown (@Seanbrown101) March 19, 2023