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Rugby Fans Rush To Defend Nigel Owens After Luke Fitzgerald Criticism

Rugby Fans Rush To Defend Nigel Owens After Luke Fitzgerald Criticism
By Michael McCarthy Updated
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The refereeing style of Nigel Owens is something we're a bit partial to here. It appears Luke Fitzgerald is not.

Speaking on the Independent's Left Wing Rugby Show, the former Leinster and Ireland winger took exception to Owens' tendency to throw in a witty comment when explaining decisions to players.

At the weekend, Owens, refereeing the Munster and Glasgow game, commented on Jaco Taute's pass after signalling that the advantage he was playing had ended, which brought a fantastic response from Billy Holland.

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It left Fitzgerald a little nonplussed.

I'd rather he just refereed the game well. The first job of the referee is to almost be anonymous and that's the first duty for him. He is taken seriously, he's a brilliant referee, no doubt about that.

I just think those kind of things are disappointing and it's disrespectful to the players who are putting in a huge amount of effort.

There's no place for it in the game. You can't actually speak back. It's almost like a situation where someone is on a podium having a go at someone in the crowd. It's wrong because there's no platform to come back.

Last night, Owens defended himself on twitter and it started a back and forth that the who rugby world has seemingly got involved with. You can read about the entire exchange here.

From a look through Twitter this morning, it seems that most people disagree with Fitzgerald's assessment. Most notably, England World Cup winner Lewis Moody is in full support of the Welsh referee.

There are hundreds more messages along the same lines, with very little support out there for Fitzgerald's comments. In fairness to him, you can understand the frustration of someone seemingly making light of a decision that goes against you on the pitch, but it's a stretch to take that as what Owens was doing, especially for the Munster/Glasgow game. It was simply his way of telling the players that it was Taute's mistake and not foul play by a Glasgow player that led to the decision. It's hard to see why a team wouldn't want to have a decision explained to them, rather than the "go away" mentality of a lot of referees.

 

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