Eben Etzebeth’s try-saver should have been a ‘penalty try and yellow card’, ex-England winger claims

Jared Wright
Referee Mathieu Raynal speaks to Sharks' Eben Etzebeth and a snippet of his try-saving intervention.

Eben Etzebeth and Referee Mathieu Raynal during the Challenge Cup final.

Ex-England winger Ugo Monye believes that Eben Etzebeth should have been yellow-carded in the Challenge Cup final against Gloucester.

The Springboks lock stopped Gloucester centre Chris Harris from scoring a try in the opening 10 minutes of the final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Friday evening.

The Cherry Whites attacked from a lineout inside the Sharks’ 22 with Harris riding a tackle from Ethan Hooker and attempted to reach out and place the ball on the line.

However, Etzebeth slid in and dislodged the ball from Harris’ grasp, and the Sharks were awarded a scrum for Harris’ knock-on.

Eben Etzebeth’s try-saver

Referee Mathieu Raynal reviewed the incident and deemed that Etzebeth was within the laws with his intervention, but speaking at half-time, Monye disagreed.

“I think this should be a penalty try and a yellow card,” the former British and Irish Lion said on TNT Sports.

“It’s a lovely line, Chris Harris here so near, and initially I was thinking that’s excellent, but then when you see it, Etzebeth goes off his feet, knee slides in the field of play, you just can’t do that.

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“If it was over the try line and (he) made that from over the try like that fair enough, but within the field of play, you cannot just go off your feet to make that tackle. He’s just knee-slid into a tackle situation.”

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However, it can be argued that Etzebeth was in-goal and within in his rights according Law 21.12 which states: “If any part of a defending player is in in-goal, that player is considered to be in in-goal, provided they are not also in touch or on or over the dead-ball line.”

The lock clearly behind the line in the screenshot below.

Etzebeth’s try-saving intervention saw the Sharks hold Gloucester out, with the Cherry and Whites dominating possession and territory in the opening 15 minutes.

The Sharks would lead 16-3 at the break before going to claim a 36-22 victory, clinching their first international competition title and Champions Cup qualification for next season.

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