Now for NZ roars Eddie as Farrell escapes
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