Angus Gardner, the referee who oversaw the November Series clash between England and South Africa, has admitted that he should have awarded a penalty following Owen Farrell’s ‘no-arm’ tackle on Andre Esterhuizen.
The shoulder-led tackle came at the end of the game when Rassie Erasmus’ side trailed by 12-11 in Twickenham. A penalty would have won the game for the southern hemisphere side but the Australian referee, following consultation with his assistant, Ben Whitehouse, decided that a penalty was not warranted.
There was widespread debate following the game about whether it was the correct decision or not. Farrell escaped punishment and was free to play the All Blacks the following week but the general consensus was that he should not have got away scot-free.
Referee Angus Gardner told @RupertCoxSKY that if he could turn back the clock, he would penalise Owen Farrell for his tackle on Andre Esterhuizen.
— Sky Sports Rugby Union (@SkySportsRugby) November 27, 2018
It seems as though, on reflection, Gardner now agrees and told Sky Sports that if he could do it over, he would award the penalty.
“I think in hindsight now, having discussed it with other referees and we’ve had some camps, mini-camps post that, I think the general consensus would be that a penalty was probably the outcome there that should have been given.”
“I think we need to see a wrap with both arms and with hindsight, although he got pinned, there wasn’t a big enough wrap with both arms really”.
It was a low point in a mixed month for South Africa. They recorded two wins against France and Scotland but also came out on the losing side against Wales in the Millennium Stadium.