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Nigel Owens: “I can understand where the yellow came from, but if I was reffing this then I would be inclining more towards red than yellow, because Murray’s actions have saved Kolbe – and that should not be part of the equation”

Last Updated: 31/07/21 10:33pm


Cheslin Kolbe is shown a yellow card



Sky Sports








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Cheslin Kolbe is shown a yellow card

Cheslin Kolbe is shown a yellow card

Former referee Nigel Owens says he would have considered a red card for Cheslin Kolbe’s aerial challenge on Conor Murray during South Africa’s win over the British and Irish Lions.

The Springboks convincingly beat the Lions 27-9 to level the three-match Test series ahead of next Saturday’s decider.

The build-up to the game was dominated by SA director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus and his hour-long rant highlighting 26 clips where he thought the officials got it wrong in the first Test.

However, South Africa can count themselves fortunate that winger Kolbe only got 10 minutes in the sin bin for his challenge in the air.

Kolbe was lucky to just to see yellow, says Nigel Owens

Kolbe was lucky to just to see yellow, says Nigel Owens

Owens, who is part of the Sky Sports team covering the Lions tour, said that if a player goes into aerial contact out of control then the first thing the ref should think about is a red card.

“You start at red and then you work down on mitigating circumstances,” said Owens.

“The only circumstances are whether Biggar and Curry have shielded Murray and affected Kolbe’s line of sight?

“But they do not do that and there is no mitigation here – Kolbe has enough time to change what he is doing. The onus is on Kolbe to be aware of the man in the air.”

While Owens believes it should have been a red card, the fact that Murray stuck out his arm to prevent himself from landing on his neck, probably saved the Springbok flyer.

Highlights of the second Test between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions from Cape Town

Sky Sports 5:14
Highlights of the second Test between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions from Cape Town

Highlights of the second Test between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions from Cape Town

“It would have been a clear red depending on the landing – if Murray did not put his leg out and his arm out then he would have landed on his shoulder and his neck and that would have been a straight red. Kolbe is very lucky here.

“I can understand where the yellow came from, but if I was reffing this then I would be thinking more red than yellow, because Murray’s actions have saved Kolbe – and that should not be part of the equation.”





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