"Lucky not to be down to 14" is how Nigel Owens described England after South Africa win - Ruck

“Lucky not to be down to 14” is how Nigel Owens described England after South Africa win

England used all the tricks in the book to try and get set-piece parit against South Africa, and popular referee Nigel Owens thinks Eddie Jones men were a bit ‘lucky’ in doing so.

“It was clear that England wanted to box clever and I thought they were slightly fortunate,” wrote Owens.

“At the first, Andrew Brace awarded them a free-kick for an early engagement. I thought it was difficult to say for sure that South Africa were leaning in any more than England were. “

“Later on, when the Springboks conceded another penalty at a put-in five metres from the England try-line, I thought they were hard done by. To me, it was Bevan Rodd that clearly hinged and pulled the scrum down rather than Ox Nche.

“A good indication for anyone watching is when you see the loosehead prop’s elbow pointing to the ground, and they are pulling their opposite man’s jersey, it is quite clear that they are causing the collapse. 

“People might say that Nche’s feet were too far back. In my opinion, Nche, the South Africa tighthead, was still able to stay up from that position and would not have gone to ground without Rodd pulling down. In any case, why would the Springboks be giving away a penalty in that area of the field? I thought England got away with one there.

“Charlie Ewels could easily have seen a yellow card for his high tackle on Eben Etzebeth, too. That could have made all the difference at the end.”


Team of the Autumn Nations Series revealed: Four England stars included

Team of the Autumn Nations Series


  • 15. Freddie Steward (England)
  • 14. Makazole Mapimpi (South Africa)
  • 11. Damian Penaud (France)


  • 13. Henry Slade (England)
  • 12. Damian de Allende (South Africa)
Henry Slade of England kicks the conversion during the Autumn Nations Match between England and Tonga at Twickenham Stoop on 6 November 2021. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK


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