Brian O'Driscoll has explained why a miscommunication error between the match officials may have played a part in Owen Farrell escaping punishment.
In Saracens dramatic victory over Gloucester, it was Owen Farrell who stole the headlines for the wrong reasons.
The 31-year-old made a dangerous, high tackle that was leading with his shoulder on Jack Clement, but escaped without a card.
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) January 6, 2023
It was made all the more controversial minutes later, when Owen Farrell scored a drop goal to win Saracens the game, when it could be argued he shouldn't be on the pitch.
With less than a month to go before the Six Nations, he now faces a nervous wait to see if he will escape suspension.
Brian O'Driscoll Gives Possible Reason For Why Farrell Escaped Punishment
To not give Owen Farrell at least a yellow card puzzled rugby fans, who have seen the England fly-half make dangerous tackles so many times in the past.
Reviewing the incident on BT Sport, Brian O'Driscoll explained why the match officials may have not punished Farrell for the tackle.
Why wasn't Owen Farrell's high tackle on Jack Clement looked at? 🤔@BrianODriscoll and @BenjaminKayser explain why a miscommunication could have been at fault and consider possible sanctions for the Saracens and England star.#GallagherPrem pic.twitter.com/58MLHArf43
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) January 8, 2023
I think it's just down to a miscommunication between TMO Claire Hodnett and Carl Dickson the referee.
I think the terminology they used, particularly Carl, probably confused her a small bit. He was talking about the phase of play, rather than the passage of play. The law dictates that the TMO is entitled to look back at any amount of phases of play on the last restart.
If the incident happened prior to the last restart, they had to leave it alone. That would have been up to the citing commissioner. Whereas I think she was confused in that she thought it was literally the very last phase of that sequence of play, which created confusion between the two and unfortunately they missed it, and all the more painful after that."
Should Farrell's tackle be viewed as foul play, an announcement his week could see him miss vital games for Saracens and England.
Looking at the incident itself, Brian O'Driscoll had no doubt he should have been punished.
"We've seen this time and time again, and he's gotten away with this one. Whether it was a red card or a yellow card is subjective, depending on your stance, but it was definitely foul play of some sort. "