Nigel Owens explains how Joe Marler got away with high tackle - Ruck

Nigel Owens explains how Joe Marler got away with high tackle

Nigel Owens has explained why England prop Joe Marler wasn’t cited for his high tackle against Fiji last weekend.

Marler stepped onto the field during Fiji’s groundbreaking inaugural triumph against the Red Rose, immediately engaging in a pivotal tackle moments later.

The sequence unfolded following a Fiji lineout maneuver, wherein Tuisue skillfully retrieved the errant throw and surged forward into open space.

A low tackle from Jack Willis confronted him, and Marler swiftly joined to reinforce the effort. However, Marler’s positioning resulted in an upright stance, leading to a high tackle on Tuisue. This unfortunate incident caused Tuisue to exit the pitch for a Head Injury Assessment (HIA).

He said: “Now some of you have been asking why Joe Marler was not yellow carded or maybe even red carded for his tackle in that game. Well, what we have here is that there was no clear evidence that there was contact or an illegal contact with the head or the neck area.

“So the TMO and the referee, they can only look at all the angles that are available. So if they don’t have any angles to show that there was contact to the head or the neck. Then we don’t have foul play and we don’t have then a sanction to follow.

“And just remember, we keep saying that we want players to get their tackles lower, but if we do make an upright tackle but there is no illegality, there’s no contact with the head, with the neck or it’s not above the shoulders, within the laws of the game that type of tackle is not illegal. But I also must stress we want the players to get those tackles lowered just in case they get it wrong and they do end up with a sanction or an injury to the player. But on this occasion, no evidence whatsoever to show that Marler did make illegal contact with the head or the neck, and that’s why there was no sanction.”


Fullback: Israel Folau (Australia)

Owens said: “For me, it’s nip and tuck between Halfpenny and Folau, next to nothing to choose between them. Leigh is brilliant because under the high ball and with his kicking at goal under pressure. He may not always break the line when running but puts his body on the line in defence and is a top-notch match-winner.

“But I go for Folau – only just, I should stress – because of his ability to seemingly beat his man every time he gets the ball in his hand. He’s such an exciting player and like Leigh he is one of the best under the high ball.

“It’s a toss of a coin for me… and it’s come down in Folau’s favour.”

Winger: Stuart Hogg (Scotland)

Owens said: “How can you fail to be impressed when watching Hogg play. He’s so exciting as he burst into that line and, of course, was named Six Nations player of the tournament.

“I know he’s a full-back for Scotland, but he is so quick and direct he could easily play on the wing. He reminds me a bit of Shane Williams with some of the things he does.

“When you see who is on the other wing in my team, you’ll see how they would work brilliantly in tandem.”

Outside-centre: Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)

Owens said: “Not only is he one of the greatest centres in the history of rugby union but he’s a fantastic man off the field as well. O’Driscoll has been a wonderful ambassador for the sport and a real leader. He always respected referees and set the right example for others to follow.

“A legend of the game who conducted himself superbly, on and off the pitch.”

Inside-centre: Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand)

Owens said: “He’s another brilliant player and after every game, win or lose, he would come up and give me a hug. Ma’a has always found time at after-match functions or at breakfast if we’ve been staying at the same hotel to come over and have a chat.

“What a player, mind, too. One of the stalwarts of the New Zealand side for so many years.”

Winger: Shane Williams (Wales)

Owens said: “When people ask me who is the best player I have refereed it’s pretty much an impossible task to pick one because I’ve been lucky enough to take charge of so many greats.

“But if I’m pushed, I would pick Shane for what he achieved after coming from football at 17 or 18 years of age.

“He was in the mould of Gerald Davies in how he left defenders gasping for air as he beat them with those dazzling sidesteps. Nobody would fancy defending against a back three of Shane, Hogg and Folau, I can tell you that.”