Far­rell wants to 'play within the rules' as tackle row rages on

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - SPORT -

LON­DON: Owen Far­rell has in­sisted he has no in­ten­tion of push­ing the rules to break­ing point as he pre­pares to lead Eng­land against world cham­pi­ons New Zealand at Twick­en­ham on Satur­day.

Eng­land launched their Novem­ber cam­paign with a 12-11 vic­tory at home to South Africa last week­end.

But that re­sult was over­shad­owed by Far­rell's con­tro­ver­sial chal­lenge on An­dre Ester­huizen in the clos­ing sec­onds.

In the opin­ion of many ob­servers, the Eng­land fly-half hit the Spring­bok re­place­ment with an il­le­gal 'no arms' tackle de­serv­ing of a penalty at the very least -- a de­ci­sion that would have given South Africa a kick at goal to win the match.

Yet ref­eree Angus Gard­ner, de­spite con­sult­ing the tele­vi­sion match of­fi­cial, not only de­cided against show­ing Far­rell a card of any colour, he also de­nied South Africa a penalty.

Af­ter­wards, the cit­ing of­fi­cer de­cided against ini­ti­at­ing any dis­ci­plinary ac­tion against Far­rell, leav­ing the Eng­land co-cap­tain free to face the All Blacks this Satur­day.

Given that World Rugby's crack­down on dan­ger­ous tack­les in a bid to pre­vent con­cus­sion­re­lated in­juries has seen sev­eral seem­ingly far less se­vere chal­lenges pun­ished of late, it ap­peared Far­rell had rid­den his luck.

But Eng­land coach Ed­die Jones in­sisted this week it was his play­maker who was in need of greater pro­tec­tion, not pun­ish­ment, from match of­fi­cials.

Mean­while Far­rell, know­ing he faces ex­tra scru­tiny this week­end, in­sisted his tack­ling tech­nique was le­git­i­mate.

"I'm not try­ing to play to the edge of the rules," he said. "I'm def­i­nitely not try­ing to do that, es­pe­cially not when the clock has gone 'red '(shown the stan­dard 80 min­utes have been com­pleted) in a Test match.

"Ob­vi­ously you try and go for­ward and tackle...some peo­ple will and some won't un­der­stand that when a col­li­sion is big how dif­fi­cult it is."

Far­rell added: "But I'm well aware of the rules. I don't want to play on the edge, I want to play within the rules.

"But that's last week­end. It's done and it def­i­nitely won't be in my head go­ing into New Zealand."

Lead­ing ref­er­ees and in­ter­na­tional coaches met at a World Rugby gather­ing in Lon­don this week where of­fi­cials de­clared the drive against dan­ger­ous play had to go on.

"World Rugby reem­pha­sised its 'zero-tol­er­ance' ex­pec­ta­tion re­gard­ing the of­fi­ci­at­ing of foul play in the in­ter­ests of player wel­fare," said a state­ment is­sued by rugby union's global gov­ern­ing body.

"Fol­low­ing a re­view of re­cent matches, in­clud­ing those last week­end, match of­fi­cials were re­minded of their obli­ga­tions in sanc­tion­ing il­le­gal no arms tack­les, high tack­les and charg­ing with the fore­arm or el­bow." - AFP

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