Now for NZ roars Ed­die as Far­rell es­capes

The Rugby Paper - - Front Page - By GARY FITZGER­ALD

OWEN FAR­RELL sur­vived a last-mo­ment scare as Eng­land made it back-to-back wins against South Africa as they warmed up for the All Blacks in dra­matic and con­tro­ver­sial fash­ion at Twick­en­ham yes­ter­day.

With the clock show­ing red and Eng­land lead­ing 12-11, Aus­tralian ref­eree An­gus Gard­ner called on TMO Olly Hodges af­ter Far­rell had ap­peared to hit re­place­ment An­dre Ester­huizen with a shoul­der charge.

But the TMO ruled that Far­rell’s fol­low­ing arm was at­tempt­ing a wrap and Gard­ner blew the fi­nal whis­tle to set off Eng­land cel­e­bra­tions.

Eng­land head coach Ed­die Jones was bub­bling as he con­tem­plated fac­ing world cham­pi­ons New Zealand at Twick­en­ham on Satur­day.

He in­sisted: “Let’s bring it on. We feel re­ally good af­ter win­ning this game.”

Far­rell pleaded not guilty to a no arms tackle.

Re­plays showed the Sara­cen struck his op­po­nent with his shoul­der and chest while one hand was try­ing to rip the ball away.

The ver­dict left Spring­boks boss Rassie Eras­mus sar­cas­ti­cally claim­ing his play­ers “should prac­tice hits like that one”.

Far­rell said: “It’s hard to wrap your arms around when you’re both hit­ting

each other at that much force, but I tried to. It was like the world go­ing in slow mo­tion wait­ing for the TMO ver­dict. Of course you are wor­ried that it might go against you but I was sure there was noth­ing wrong with the tackle. It was just a good, hard tackle to stop him. Any­thing can hap­pen as ev­ery­body knows but the most im­por­tant thing was the fight.”

Far­rell added: “It went to the touch judge, he said check and then it all slows down. Some­times you can take what you want from it. If you watch that full speed, he has a big run up on me and we both bounce off each other and end up on the floor.”

“We put our­selves in some good po­si­tions in the sec­ond half and could have come away with more points. It feels im­por­tant that we have won to re­ward the boys for all the ef­fort and move on to the next game.

“We will spend a good week to­gether now build­ing up to New Zealand. We will learn a lot from this game and could be a bit more clin­i­cal.

Far­rell could still be in trou­ble with the cit­ing com­mis­sioner, New Zealan­der Keith Brown, if he deems the in­ci­dent to be dan­ger­ous.

South African coach Eras­mus added: “It was a shoul­der tackle but the ref­eree de­cided it was ok. Per­haps we should look to be tack­ling like that if it is le­gal. We must prac­tice it more .... to stop a guy like Ester­huizen it must have been a hell of a tackle!”

Head coach Ed­die Jones said: “I was just hop­ing the ref­eree wouldn’t pe­nalise us. It’s not for me to ad­ju­di­cate but it was just a good solid tackle. We must learn not to get ex­cited too soon next time and wait for the TMO!”

Co-cap­tain Dy­lan Hart­ley said: “It was never a penalty, just a good phys­i­cal and very good tackle.

“The re­sult was the main thing to get our cam­paign off to a win­ning start.

“It wasn’t a pretty game to watch but a win­ning game is a pretty one to me. We dug and fought our way our of it. We showed com­po­sure against a very phys­i­cal side.

“We will en­joy this tonight but we have a big chal­lenge next week­end against New Zealand.”

Crunch: Owen Far­rell hits An­dre Ester­huizen with his shoul­der but es­caped un­pun­ished

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