"Tough decision" - Nigel Owens delivers his verdict on controversial Ben Earl penalty - Ruck

“Tough decision” – Nigel Owens delivers his verdict on controversial Ben Earl penalty

Nigel Owens dissects the exhilarating showdowns of Super Saturday, delving into France’s nail-biting triumph over England, complete with late-game drama.

“A couple of things here. Now, a lot of you have been talking about players on the ground making a tackle. So if you’re on the ground in rugby, you are out of the game. But, and this is where the interpretation comes in and a little bit of common sense in rugby as well when you’re refereeing.

“If your knee hits the ground as you’re making the tackle, we wouldn’t deem that to be that you’re already on the ground. The difference is imagine you’re on your knees on the ground and you’re waiting for the ball carrier to run into you. Then that would be a penalty because you can’t be on the ground making a tackle. But as if you’re going to ground, as you’re going to make the tackle, then we wouldn’t deem that to be illegal.”

“The other key thing to ask here is, is he making an attempt to wrap? This has split a lot of you, some of you think that the arm is down by the side, so there’s no attempt to wrap. If so, then it would be a penalty. If you think he’s gone down low and in going down low, he’s then going to make the wrap. So then you think it’s legal, then it wouldn’t be a penalty.

“So those are the two key things here for you to look at. But this is another point I want you to take into account. When you look at a very, very tough decision like this, you’ve got to make sure, was it consistent throughout the game? So were there instances in the game that were similar to this and weren’t penalised? If so, then you wouldn’t expect this to be penalised either.

“So there you are, plenty for you to think about, plenty for you to look at. Go and have a look at it and then come back and let me know what your final decision would’ve been.”

Every England player ranked from best to worst on their 2024 Six Nations performance

In the opening rounds of the Six Nations, Borthwick’s revamped lineup struggled on the attack, tallying a mere six tries.

However, a remarkable turnaround unfolded as England surged, bagging seven tries against formidable opponents Ireland and France, both ranked second and fourth in the world.

These victories against top-ranked nations highlight substantial progress for the English side.

Below, the squad is meticulously ranked from top-tier performers to those falling short. Among the standout talents, Ben Earl emerges as the epitome of excellence.

vs Italyvs Walesvs Scotlandvs Irelandvs FranceAverage rating
Ben Earl786.59.587.8
George Martin //
Ollie Lawrence//5.5987.5
Marcus Smith///86.57.25
Tommy Freeman7.57.55.5787.1
Alex Mitchell 6.577.577
Ellis Genge /75.5786.875
Immanuel Feyi-Waboso 6/6.58/6.833333333
Jamie George67.567.576.8