"Should be a Red Card" - Refereeing Legend Nigel Owens Points Out Mistake in Italy v Wales - Ruck

“Should be a Red Card” – Refereeing Legend Nigel Owens Points Out Mistake in Italy v Wales

Legendary rugby referee Nigel Owens has highlighted an offence in last weekend’s Six Nations match, that in his eyes deserved a red card. Taking place in the second half of Italy vs Wales Owens believes that Pierre Bruno’s sin bin should have in-fact been a sending off at the Stadio Olympico.

Italy’s winger led with his forearm into contact, and connected with the neck and chin area of Wyn Jones. The Welsh prop did not exactly drop his height for the tackle attempt, yet there was a definite attempt to wrap the Zebre player, with his arms outstretched in anticipation of the contact.

Owens commentated on this on his Whistle Watch programme, and stated how referee Damon Murphy had made the mistake. After a lengthy TMO review with Joy Neville, and assistants Karl Dickson and Chris Busby, Bruno’s was only punished with 10 minutes in the sin bin.

“A big talking point in Italy was the Bruno yellow card, should it have been more? Now then, this is what you can’t do as a player when you have the ball, you cannot lead with this forearm up against the neck or the head area of a player.

Referee, Nigel Owens during the Heineken Champions Cup Final Match between Exeter Chiefs and Racing 92 at Ashton Gate, Bristol on the 17 Oct. PHOTO: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

“Sometimes what happens is this, when you have the ball in the other arm protecting yourself or protecting the ball, players go into the contact so the elbow or the arm will usually be down here and as they go in in a strong position they then push away.

Owens continued to explain the foul play considerations in the incident. Australian official Murphy was in charge of just his second Guinness Six Nations competition, with the missed-call a blemish on his match.

“If they go in legally and then push away and the arm comes up pushing away, then we don’t have any foul play.” Owens continued.

The 5 Greatest Owens-isms
CARDIFF, WALES – OCTOBER 17: Referee Nigel Owens signals during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Quarter Final match between New Zealand and France at the Millennium Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt Lewis – World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

“When you come in and the elbow is already up and you make contact with the neck or the head area then you are leading with a forearm, there is contact to the head, it is dangerous play and it should be a red card. In this instance here, it should have been a red card against Bruno for the elbow up contact to the next and head area.”


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.”