Nigel Owens has told a brilliant story about the day Lawrence Dallaglio tricked him in a big game and the big lesson he has never forgotten after the incident.
“One of the first lessons I learnt was from refereeing a very good captain and player in my early days – Lawrence Dallaglio,” wrote Owens in his column for Wales Online.
“When he was captain of Wasps I refereed him against Toulouse in France. I was very inexperienced at the time in the early to mid-2000s.
“Wasps were defending on their own goal line and Toulouse were attacking phase after phase and seemed destined to score. Dallaglio came round the side of the tackle, lay on the ball for enough time and slowed the ball down and killed the attack for Toulouse.
“When he came around and killed the ball, I stuck my hand up for a penalty and I was going to send him to the bin because it was professional foul in my view. He got up and he said: “I’m really sorry, that was purely accidental, I thought the ball was out and I was pushed from behind when I realised it wasn’t.”
“And I fell for it. I thought: “That could have been accidental, fair point”, so I penalised him but I didn’t bin him. It was a yellow card offence and I thought at the time that he had not done it because it was a mistiming –
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“After the game Derek Evans, my TMO and coach, said the rest of the game had been refereed well, but he said that I need to learn that, no matter who the player is, whatever influence they try to put on you, those types of things don’t happen by accident at this level, especially close to the goal line.
“Those players like Dallaglio who are experienced captains know exactly what they are doing. Derek said that he had influenced me into thinking it was an accident and not
“That was a real learning point for me. These things don’t happen by accident and they know exactly what they are doing. No matter who the captain is.
“Dallaglio was a great captain and one of the great English players, but he did influence me. He had pulled the wool over my eyes and I fell for it.”