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WATCH: Terrible Sportsmanship Or Ultimate Gamesmanship

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Sunday May 22, 2022

Former international referee extraordinaire Nigel Owens has led the way online in his condemnation of the controversial 2-minute try scored in the England vs Argentina fixture at this weekend’s Toulouse 7s tournament.

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In a now deleted tweet Owen said the following, “I don’t think this is good for the game. A player or team must not do anything that is against the spirit of the game. I’m surprised the referee didn’t tell him to ground the ball. That’s what we used to do when I was on the 7s circuit, many years ago.”

The score itself left fans, players and officials scratching their heads as Argentina willingly allowed England’s Will Horner to breakaway for an easy score.

What followed easy even more bizarre as Horner took a full two minutes to touchdown whilst standing over the try line.

At the time of the score Argentina were leading 19 – 0 and were a man down. The reason behind their lack of interest in chasing down Horner and perhaps even more controversially England’s willingness to throw the game was that an Argentina win, and England loss by that a 12-point margin would see both sides progress to the quarterfinals.

The biggest losers would be Canada as they then failed to progress due to the incident.All three sides were level on seven points with the Canadians losing out due to an inferior point deferential.

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Whilst many will argue that no laws were broken, Owen’s argued that the spirit of the game took a real knock. Whilst New Zealand journalist Paul Tait noted that in fact two laws had been broken, law 9.7.d – wasting time and law 9.27 – against good sportsmanship.

The incident has certainly left observers scratching their head and could well see a clamp down from World Rugby to ensure this does not happen again.

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