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Tuesday Apr 6, 2021

Nigel Owens reacts to THAT clear out on Faf de Klerk

Referee Nigel Owens has said that Scarlets lock Jake Ball’s tackle on Sale Sharks’ Faf de Klerk in the Heineken Champions Cup on Sunday “should be a red card”.

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Owens was responding to the many complaints online that Ball went punished in the match despite making contact with the head of de Klerk as the scrum-half was picking the ball up from the base of the ruck.

The incident was looked at during the match to see whether the lock was offside, but the high shot was strangely overlooked in the Sharks’ 57-14 win.

While Owens did not explicitly state whether he thought it should have been a red card or not, he responded to those who were insistent on Twitter that contact was made to the head by saying that it should have been a red card if that was the case.

Moreover, the Welshman emphasised that the ball being out or not is irrelevant.

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Owens has not necessarily unearthed a complex or unknown Law in this situation, which is all the more confusing how Ball managed to remain on the pitch.

A cursory look on social media would show that the vast majority of fans clearly saw contact to the head of de Klerk from Ball’s shoulder/arm, with some providing photos and GIFS to make it clearer.

Some events over the past weekend suggest that there is still room for improvement in terms of officiating, particularly with regards to the television match officials. What makes the incident more bizarre, however, is how the illegality of the tackle was not noticed when reviewing it for being offside.

The South African came out of the challenge unscathed and played on, although he could have suffered a head or leg injury, but was quick to protest to the officials.

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