'No way Owen Farrell intended to go that close to the worst tackle ever'
Former Ireland international Andrew Trimble has said that there's no way that Owen Farrell would have intended to tackle Springbok substitute Andre Esterhuizen that high during the final minutes of England's 12-11 win over South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.
Farrell nailed Esterhuizen with a huge tackle in the final minutes of England's win with referee Angus Gardner clearing the challenge with the TMO. The Australian official declaried that there had been enough of an attempted wrap from Farrell on the far side to make his challenge a legitimate tackle.
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Trimble, who was quite the tackler during his own career, said that the England co-captain could have faced a lengthy ban if his attempt had have been just an inch higher but added that he thinks that the tackle was 100% legal.
"He went to wrap the arms and Esterhuizen went back so quickly that his arms didn't get there in time," Trimble said on the latest episode of House of Rugby.
"His arms were on their way, they were just delayed slightly. I think they were on their way and I think it was marginally so. I had no issue with the arms but I think what could potentially be an issue is if he connects an inch higher, literally an inch higher, and he's taking that fella's head off.
"Having said that, I don't think there's anything wrong with the tackle, and I think the only reason it's being talked about; first of all because it was close to being on the chin, but it wasn't; but the only reason it's being talked about is because it was such a powerful collision.
"He's absolutely nailed the fella. I think it was legal. 100% I think it was legal. It was just so dynamic, so powerful, he hit him so hard and the guy went down so quickly that it's a talking point. Especially in light of a lot of the recent concussion talk."
Trimble added that there has to be a distinction made between what is legal and not legal and that there's no way that Farrell intended for that tackle to be that high.
"There has to be a line somewhere," added the former Ulster winger.
"You can't say a tackle gets increasingly dangerous as you go up the body. It's dangerous if it's on the neck or on the chin, and it's not dangerous if it's on the chest, but there has to be a point where it's legal or not legal and for me that one, by an inch, is legal.
"There's no way he intended it to be that close to being the worst tackle of all time. If he lands on the chin there, if he gets that slightly wrong, and he probably has got it slightly wrong, he probably hit him an inch higher than he expected, but if he goes up another inch again he's getting banned. That's a six month ban.
"I don't know what way that works. I don't know what the minimum ban is for a high tackle to be honest, I'm just making that up, but he's in serious bother if that lands on the chin."