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Sunday Oct 18, 2020

Nigel Owens hits back at criticism over Heineken Cup final timekeeping decision

International referee Nigel Owens has responded to the mixed reviews he received for the controversial ending to Saturday night’s Heineken Cup final.

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The Welshman took charge of the European final at Ashton Gate between Exeter and Racing 92 and two big decisions late on came under the spotlight.

Owens’ first call was to penalise Racing 92 on the Exeter try line for not releasing the ball, with fans insisting Sam Hidalgo-Clyne entered the ruck at the side.

With that one convincingly justified by the veteran, Owens’ other big decision was to prevent Racing from taking a restart despite the clock showing there was still a few seconds left to play.

Exeter’s Joe Simmonds had converted a penalty and it looked like there was time for one last restart for the Parisian side, but Owens refereed to his TMO to find out if the clock had gone red when the ball traveled through the posts.

Much to the Racing players’ frustration and heartbreak, Owens was instructed to end the game there and then and confirm Exeter’s Heineken Cup glory.

The game ended 31-27 to the Chiefs and full match highlights are available below:

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