“People need to stop having a go at Owen Farrell.”
Nigel Owens has called on people to “stop having a go at Owen Farrell” for how the England captain interacts with referees.
Farrell became particularly irate with referee Pascal Gauzere during the game between England and Wales, after the Frenchman allowed the opening try of the match to stand.
🗣 Have a word with your team.
We’ve bumped up the ref mic so you can properly hear the interaction between Owen Farrell and Pascal Gauzêre for that first Welsh try.#WALvENG #GuinnessSixNations #VMTVRugby pic.twitter.com/GsaVx5YC3y
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) February 27, 2021
“People need to stop having a go at Owen Farrell. I can only speak from my own experience of refereeing him and, when I did, he was an excellent captain to deal with,” Owens explained.
“I have a huge amount of respect for him as a player and a person. He always knew where the line was with me.
“I would say to him that he could always come and talk to me as long as it was at the right time and in the right tone and he always did that.
“There are a lot of other captains who are in the referee’s ear. It is the captain’s job to challenge the referee if he feels his side is getting hard done by, if he feels they are being punished at the offside line but the opposition aren’t. What is important is that it is done in the right manner.
“Owen always did that with me. I have seen other games where he has been in the referee’s ear at the wrong times and that he may need to address. That is also down to the referee to deal with it and stop it happening.”
‘Credit to how they conducted themselves.’
The Welsh referee also touched on BBC journalist Sonja McLaughlan’s post-match interviews with Farrell and Eddie Jones, commending all three for handling the situation in the correct way.
“I thought the way Owen and Eddie Jones dealt with the questions about the contentious try decisions after the Wales game was excellent. So many times in the past we have heard players and coaches blame referees for everything,” Owens said.
“You want players and coaches to be themselves and honest in interviews so credit for how they conducted themselves in the heat of battle after the match.
“Credit, too, to Sonja McLaughlan. She was asking the questions to which everyone wanted to know the answers. It is her job to ask those tough questions and she was excellent in how she did so.”