'Glad I retired': Nigel Owens has his say on overturned red card
REACTION: Retired referee Nigel Owens has questioned the decision to overturn the red card handed to Bristol lock Josh Caulfield.
Caulfield was sent off in the 12th minute for stamping on Ireland prop Finlay Bealham’s head during Bristol Bears’ 10-27 defeat to Connacht in the Champions Cup last Saturday.
As he cleared the ruck, Caulfield can be seen raising his leg, apparently to step over prop Bealham.
His boot comes down early, landing squarely on the side of the Connacht tighthead’s face.
Silly, hard to see it anything but Red. pic.twitter.com/3ul04nMW6U
— Joe Naughton (@JoeNaConnacht) January 19, 2024
However, a disciplinary committee comprising Paul Thomas (Wales), Chair, Marcello D’Orey (Portugal) and Stefan Terblanche (South Africa) determined that “Caulfield had committed an act of foul play, but it found that the offence did not warrant a red card, and the red card decision was therefore overturned”.
The 26-year-old is free to play immediately and EPCR has the right to appeal the decision.
In a post on X, Owens blasted the committee’s decision.
“How can they say this is foul play but not a red card,” he began.
“If it’s not foul play and complete accident then play on. If it’s reckless and foul play then it has to be RC.
“For what it’s worth, it’s a RC for me as it’s not a natural action of rucking and reckless. Glad I retired.”
Owens’ original post was in response to a post from Peter Jackson, the former long-serving Daily Mail rugby correspondent, who suggested: “Rugby’s capacity for making itself a laughing stock knows no bounds.
“A disciplinary panel finds Josh Caulfield guilty of foul play but that ‘the offence did not warrant a red card’. So a reckless boot to the head is ok? And the game keeps spouting on about player welfare.”
Additional source: @RugbyPass
How can they say this is foul play but not red card. If it’s not foul play and complete accident then play on. If It’s reckless and foul play then it has to be RC. For what it’s worth it’s a RC for me as it’s not a natural action of rucking and reckless.
Glad I retired 🙈 https://t.co/VYHam8NtgL
— Nigel Owens MBE (@Nigelrefowens) January 23, 2024