Wayne Barnes’ verdict on Paolo Garbisi’s penalty miss as Nigel Owens admits France got ‘very lucky’

Colin Newboult
Nigel Owens and Wayne Barnes officiating at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Nigel Owens and Wayne Barnes officiating at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Former top Test referee Wayne Barnes has had his say on the penalty miss by Paolo Garbisi during Italy’s draw with France.

With the game locked at 13-13, the Azzurri were awarded an opportunity to win the game, but as the fly-half was about to kick the ball, it fell off the tee.

Les Bleus back-row Francois Cros then started to move up to Garbisi, but was sent back by referee Christophe Ridley as players are not allowed to charge down a penalty.

Rush to retake

The Italian pivot then quickly put the ball back on the tee and rushed to take the kick as time was running out on the shot clock.

It agonisingly hit the post as both teams were forced to settle for a share of the spoils, but there have been questions over whether the penalty should have been retaken.

Barnes, during a Q&A session on the Telegraph website, explained the law, but stated that Garbisi was not necessarily affected by the actions of the Frenchmen.

“The law book explains that the kicker has 60 seconds to take the kick from the moment they indicate their intention to kick at goal,” he wrote.

“It also says that if the opposing team infringes during the kick at goal and the kick is unsuccessful then the kick should be retaken 10 metres from the original mark.

“The question for the match officials was whether the French team infringed and whether that infringement affected the kick at goal.

“There was no appeal from the Italian team or Paolo Garbisi, which would suggest to me that Italy didn’t feel as if the failed kick had been because of the French team.”

Fellow former referee Nigel Owens also went more in-depth into the matter during his Whistle Watch segment on World Rugby’s YouTube channel.

Owens interacted on Twitter after the game on Sunday, but has now had more time to fully digest the incident and give his thoughts on the matter.

The sensible decision

“The French player probably comes up… because he can probably see the ball coming off the tee and now thinks he can charge. He can’t,” the Welshman said.

“The sensible decision should have been to say, ‘look, no, the ball has fallen off the tee.’ So stop the clock, replace the ball on the tee, send the French player back and let the player reset to take his kick again.’

“The key thing here, as a lot of people have been discussing, is this: if he (the referee) felt that the French players were encroaching illegally and the kicker misses the kick then in law it’s quite clear; the kick is to be retaken, another penalty awarded 10 metres further on.

“Italy? A little bit unlucky. The French? Very lucky.”

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