Nigel Owens refused to gloat about his successful Six Nations prediction, in English at least, on this week’s Whistle Watch, but the former referee could not hide his delight at Wales’ Triple Crown victory.
Owens, who backed his countrymen to beat England in episode three, was an interested spectator of events at the Principality Stadium last weekend.
And, the first man to referee 100 test matches has had his say on the circumstances that surrounded Wales’ opening two tries in Cardiff.
“Let's deal with the first one, Josh Adams' try. Now, there's nothing in the law that says the referee must wait for the opposition to get lined up to defend,” Owens said.
“The interesting bit here is that the referee actually stopped the clock, asked Owen Farrell to speak to his players about their discipline, quite rightly so and very good refereeing management by the referee then.
“But, I think, then you must check that they're ready before you restart the game. So personally, if I was refereeing, I would have checked to make sure that England were ready.”
On the potential Louis Rees-Zammit knock-on in the build-up to Liam Williams’ try, Owens added: “If a player loses control of the ball forwards, i.e. off his hand, he has to regain possession of that ball before it touches the ground or hits another player, or even travels backwards afterwards. Otherwise, it's a knock on.
“So, imagine a player going for an interception sticks his hand out, juggles the ball upwards, which is travelling forwards but fails to catch it so knocks it backwards. That is still deemed a knock-on because he's failed to regain possession of the ball.
“So, in this instance, my humble opinion is Rees-Zammit's hand clearly touches the ball, the ball is then travelling forward as is Rees-Zammit before it then hits his thigh, then off the back of his leg and then backwards.
“So, because Rees-Zammit failed to regain possession of the ball, under law, that then is a knock-on. But also, as I said, we must appreciate these decisions are always difficult decisions to make.”
Louis the Lion?
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He may well have penalised Rees-Zammit for a knock-on were he refereeing in Cardiff, but Owens is clearly a big fan of the young Welsh winger.
“In this year's Six Nations, I think as a newcomer, he's way above everybody else,” he said.
“He's a different level. Put your money on him going to South Africa with the Lions. I reckon, if he carries on the way he is, he'll be on that plane… or on the bus.”
Owens could empathise with the Japanese referee who was pictured talking to his TMO on a mobile phone last weekend, after the communication system between the two officials failed.
“That happened to me once, out in Musgrave Park in Cork. Munster against Glasgow,” he said.
“The number four [match official], ran on with a phone and gave me the phone. So, I'm on the try line speaking to my TMO before I give the decision.
“And, would you believe it, the people at home actually thought I was ringing home.”