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Monday Jun 13, 2022

Watch: England Fly Half avoids serious hot water in premiership semi final

It will come as no surprise to fans of rugby that the Premiership semi final between Saracens and Harlequins was a tense affair. The game was littered with controversy from the opening minutes and recent footage is only adding to the debates.

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In the intense encounter between the two bitter rivals, there were a total of four yellow cards. Harlequins hooker Jack Walker received the first yellow after an upright tackle on Saracens 10 Owen Farrell.

Regarding Walker’s sin bin, referee Luke Pearce had plenty to sort out -the Harlequins man was undoubtedly dangerously high but Farrell also seemed to use an elbow; which was eventually not deemed as foul play.

Saracens three yellows all came in the second half. Elliot Daly was sent his marching orders on the 55th minute after a late and high tackle on Marcus Smith. Billy Vunipola followed him five minutes later after a very similar offence to that of Walker in the first half. Finally, replacement Alex Lozowksi was shown a yellow for a reckless tackle on Joe Marchant.

Despite being short of a full fifteen for most of the second half, Saracens defence was exemplary and the north London team stifled the usually free flowing Quins attack. A special mention goes to Nick Isiekwe who after coming on just after half time put in a truly impeccable display.

Despite dishing out four yellow cards and countless penalties, the refereeing team understandably missed a couple of moments.

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Matt Symons may consider himself lucky that he made it through his last ever premiership match. The Quins lock seemed to be right in the middle of virtually every fight that occurred and has been accused of throwing a punch.

Another man that will have been relieved to get through the 80 minutes without a caution is Owen Farrell.

Before looking at the contentious moment involving the England captain, it must be said that he was superb in the Semi Final, controlling things expertly from Fly Half and his offload to set up the Tomkins try left most of the ground open mouthed.

Farrell was on the end of heavy hits from Quins all day and it had initially seemed that he had largely managed to keep his cool. However, new footage of the game appears to show the Saracens man ‘punch’ Joe Marchant while in a ruck.

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The usually calm Harlequins centre was incensed at the time and was told by the refereeing team to calm down.

Despite having a linesman virtually on top of the incident it was not picked up by officials or the TMO and the 24 hour citing period has now expired.

Nevertheless, the incident has caused quite the debate on social media, with many claiming that Farrell should have been citied or reprimanded at the time.

Bobbie Bridge on Twitter said that there was ‘substance’ in such claims but the incident ‘Slowed down, looks like a bit of a slap. Not much force’.

However many social media users thought that Farrell (along with many others in the match) should have been sent off for foul play. Like Tom Goodman who posted  “Saw that and surprised it wasn’t carded at the time”.

The high amount of controversy unfortunately takes away slightly from what was otherwise a brilliant game of rugby. Both teams put their bodies on the line and showed why they were deserving semi-finalists.

It is Saracens however that will head to the final to face Leicester Tigers. Harlequins will rue missed opportunities but Sarries’ impressive physicality and defence was too much for last year’s champions.

 

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