Nigel Owens has claimed that Liam Williams “did nothing wrong whatsoever” in the incident that saw him sent to the sin bin against France.
Williams received a yellow card in the 73rd minute of the thrilling encounter between Wales and France, after referee Luke Pearce deemed the fullback to have made a cynical foul on Antoine Dupont.
However, Owens told the BBC‘s Scrum V that he believes Williams should not have even been penalised, let alone sent to the sin bin for his perceived infringement at the breakdown.
This isn’t a woe is Wales thing, but Liam Williams took a bit of stick on here last night.
I don’t think he does anything wrong for the yellow.
Pearce gives it for off feet, but he gets back on his feet and tackles Dupont.
At worst it’s a knock on whilst stripping the ball. pic.twitter.com/UIXYubzLfr
— Ruck ‘n’ Roll (@RnRRugby) March 21, 2021
‘It’s certainly not a penalty’
“This one is very harsh. It’s totally unacceptable when people have to put up with abuse online. There is no place for it,” Owens said.
“We have the best supporters in the world but sometimes there are a few clowns out there who let people down.What is even more unacceptable here is the fact that Liam Williams did nothing wrong whatsoever.
“It’s brilliant play by Liam Williams here. He gets back to his feet, legally, then Dupont has lifted the ball off the floor.
Well said @Nigelrefowens 👏
📺 @BBCTwo Wales
— BBC ScrumV (@BBCScrumV) March 21, 2021
“This means now, even if it was a tackle or a ruck, that phase is now over. It is now open play. Liam Williams is quite entitled to do the tackle technique that he does. That should have been play on.
“The only thing you could argue is did it touch Liam Williams’ hand in the process of making a tackle? It may have done and, if so, it would have been a knock on only and a scrum. But it’s certainly not a penalty.”
France made full use of their numerical advantage over Wales in the dying minutes of the game, as Brice Dulin went over in the corner in overtime to deny the Welsh a Grand Slam.