Nigel Owens’ review of the ‘double movement’ Sipili Falatea proves

Nigel Owens has shared his thoughts on Sipili Falatea’s much-debated try that secured France’s victory over the Springboks in Marseille last Saturday night. The replacement right prop broke through to put his team ahead 27-26 with six minutes remaining in a fierce Fall Nations Series encounter that ultimately ended 30-26.

The match generated numerous talking points, with red cards resulting in four-game and three-game bans for the sent-off Antoine Dupont and Pieter-Steph du Toit. However, France’s decisive late try from Falatea was also a major talking point and the Test centurion, referee Owens, has now weighed in on the debate.

Reviewing the incident in the latest edition of Whistle Watch, his weekly rugby test series, Owens said: “If we look at Sipili Falatea’s try in the France-South Africa game at the end, people wonder why isn’t this double movement.

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“Well, it’s very, very interesting and I have to say it’s also very, very difficult to judge because what you certainly have is a ball carrier who may not be tackled but is in a position where it’s unbearable. .

“If you feel like he was tackled or he was down, he is only allowed to set up in one move. So if he felt there was another movement and another movement while he was on the ground, then he would be seeing that the attempt was repulsed.

“If you felt like it was an impulse, that he was actually going to the ground and then he made it through, as Wayne Barnes saw, then you would go for it. So I’m afraid to tell you that it’s really one of those difficult ones that are very, very difficult to call. What people have been asking me is why didn’t TMO come in and why didn’t they look at this again.

“Well, the TMO couldn’t get in because the communication system was down at the time, so the referee couldn’t hear the TMO and the TMO couldn’t talk to the referee. Wayne Barnes was there on the spot and he gives the decision and he sees it, so it’s one of those very, very difficult ones to make.”


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