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Gardner admits he got Farrell call wrong
By Raga House | Wed 28 Nov, 2018 08:59

Angus Gardner has told Sky Sports he was wrong not to penalise Owen Farrell for his shoulder-led tackle on Andre Esterhuizen at the end of England's Test against South Africa.

Gardner was the subject of fiery debate around Farrell's last-gasp tackle, which the Australian deemed legal at the time, as it robbed the South Africans of a chance to kick a penalty that could have clinched victory.

Speaking at the World Rugby Awards in Monaco, during which Gardner was crowned referee of the year, the 34-year-old said if he could turn back the clock, he would change his decision.

"I think in hindsight now, having discussed it with some other referees... I think the general consensus would be that a penalty was probably the outcome there that should have been given," Gardner told Rupert Cox on the Will Greenwood podcast.

The Australian referee consulted Irish television match official Olly Hodges, but in the end took the decision upon himself and determined that the England co-captain had made enough of an effort to wrap his arms in the collision.

Gardner and his assistants - Jerome Garces from France and Ben Whitehouse from Wales - also failed to spot an apparent off-side and high tackle by England wing Jonny May in the build-up to Farrell’s hit on Esterhuizen.

"I think we need to see a wrap with both arms, and I think in hindsight - although he got pinned - there wasn't a big enough wrap from both arms, really. There was a wrap with one arm, but there wasn't a wrap with the other arm."

Asked why he saw it different on November 3, Gardner replied: "The angles that I saw with the TMO, which were the head-on angles, showed a clear wrap of the front arm, but it was the back arm which got pinned.

"Of the angles that I was showed in the stadium at the time, that seemed to me to be enough of a wrap for me to constitute a legal tackle.

"It was never high, and so all we were looking at was the tackle technique. The collision itself also kind of swayed my decision because it was a big rugby collision, and we see these hits in the game.

Gardner says he is aware that referees will sometimes impact Test matches with their decisions, but says they are always aiming to get better, and that an honest approach in reviewing his games will aid his development as an official.

-Sky Sports

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