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Nigel Owens calls for players to take responsibility over red cards

Owens

“You have to accept that if you go in recklessly, dangerously illegally by leading with the shoulder or the forearm and hit a player’s head you are in trouble.”

Nigel Owens has insisted that players, not referees are responsible for the recent spate of red cards in rugby.

Four red cards have been handed out in this year’s Six Nations, with one match left to be played, while sending off offences have been similarly common in club rugby in recent months.

Referees have come under much fire for the amount of players that have been sent off, but Nigel Owens was adamant when speaking to AFP that officials have done nothing wrong regarding red cards in recent times.

“There should be no debate about the red cards, they were all correct. The players need to change their behaviour in the clearout, people need to stop blaming the system and the referees,” Owens said.

“Player safety is paramount with things the way they are at the moment with HIA (Head Injury Assessment), and concussion.

“You have to accept that if you go in recklessly, dangerously illegally by leading with the shoulder or the forearm and hit a player’s head you are in trouble.”

Six Nations

Nigel Owens – ‘These days there are too many bodies on the ground.’

While there has been an increased emphasis on refereeing head collisions in rugby recently, the Welshman believes the red cards that have been handed out in this year’s Six Nations would still have been given in previous years.

Owens believes the increase in cards is not due to a decreased level of tolerance from referees, but because players are no longer attempting to stay on their feet in the ruck.

“These would have been red cards in previous years but the reason why you did not have sending offs is the clearout was different,” Owens explained.

“These days there are too many bodies on the ground whereas before players would be on their feet so nobody came in with a shoulder or a forearm to clear out. Referees should get back to reffing the laws and keeping players on their feet.”

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