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Stephen Ferris On The Hostile Atmosphere Inside Twickenham On Saturday

Stephen Ferris On The Hostile Atmosphere Inside Twickenham On Saturday
By Colman Stanley Updated

Stephen Ferris sat down with us for one his regular rugby chats, and discussed some of the main talking points from last weekend’s Six Nations win in Twickenham, as well as a look ahead to this Saturday’s meeting with Scotland.

The discourse surrounding the win over England was dominated by the topic of Charlie Ewels’ red card, which he was shown after just 82 seconds.

Ferris, who was in Twickenham, described the mood of English fans following the sending off, and how it brought out an unsavoury hostility and nastiness in some of the English supporters.

“I was there, I was amongst all the English fans, plenty of Irish fans there mind you, and it got so hostile. Like I mean it was really really hostile, everybody was edgy.”

"Thankfully Ireland dug in and ran away with it in the last ten or fifteen minutes, which was for me personally really good to see.

"I was standing up, James Lowe ran in that try. I was up for obviously the disallowed try that Caelan Doris ran in and bumped Harry Randall. I was jumping up and I was told ‘sit down you paddy effin this and sit down you paddy effin that’, and I’m going ‘What? Lads I can’t even enjoy a rugby match anymore without getting abuse hurled at me’. And that only happened because there was the red card.”

12 March 2022; Charlie Ewels of England leaves the pitch after receiving a red card from Referee Mathieu Raynal during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between England and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium in London, England. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Ferris further detailed the herd mentality among the fans around him why their initial opinions on the red card were rather premature and hypocritical.

“The English fans felt really hard done by. Everybody thought the game was over, I had friends who were English who were sitting beside me and they were like ‘aw that’s it, spoiled the game, game’s over. Thanks very much referee that should never have been a red card, we need to bring in an amber card for something like that. There was no intent, it was accidental’.

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“I was like well hold on a second, James Ryan is six foot seven six foot eight, and your man hit him straight on the jaw. He made absolutely no attempt to get low, to make any type of wrap, and it was off the ball. I was like if this was an Irish player, if the shoe was on the other foot I wouldn’t agree with that. But for some reason everybody there just got caught up in the moment.

“They got caught up in everybody else’s opinion. So if one English fan said ‘I think that should have been a yellow card’, then all of a sudden the other ten or fifteen people who were in close proximity around us thought exactly the same thing. And then that just brought this intense atmosphere. After sixty odd minutes I was saying to the guys ‘you told me sixty five minutes ago the game was over, it's fifteen all.’ All you’ve done is cry about this red card.”

It's an excellent point by Ferris when you imagine a situation where an English player had to go off because of an illegal hit by an Irish player. Maro Itoje, for example, had one of his all-action world class displays. If it was he who was forced off, it would have painted a totally different picture in the minds of English supporters.

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See Also: 4 Players Who've Inspired The Ireland U20s To The Brink Of A Six Nations Grand Slam

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