British & Irish Lions fly-half Owen Farrell has only been in Australia for five minutes but clearly he has already taken on the Aussie lingo by excusing the punch on him from Saracens team mate Schalk Brits as “no dramas”.
The incident in the first ten Lions minutes of the opening tour match for the Lions in Hong Kong saw Brits given a yellow card and subsequently get banned for three matches. Farrell was holding Brits into a ruck and Brits took exception to it and launched a broadside at his domestic club mate.
Match referee Steve Walsh sent Brits to the sin bin, but commented that “Because of the nature of the game it’s only a yellow.”
Brits apologised to Farrell via twitter on Sunday saying “Lions played very well tonight. Sorry for the over-reaction brother, took it too far. Hope you have a great tour.”
Owen Farrell was similarly philosophical about the altercation “I was trying to hold him into a ruck, and he reacted to that. It all happens in rugby. There’s no dramas there.
“When someone reacts to you, you try not to take a backward step, not just in this occasion but in every occasion. I just grabbed him. There was nothing nasty in it. It is a reminder of how vital it is to keep cool and not respond to provocation.
“These are big games, every game for the Lions is massive, and to lose someone to the bin would be massive. You can’t afford to do that – everyone has to be disciplined. I shook Schalk’s hand after the game, and he apologised when he came back on to the field.”
Lions head coach took the opportunity to reinforce how important it will be for the Lions to keep their heads under pressure from the opposition “Sometimes it is hard when someone lays a punch squarely on the side of your jaw not to react. But we are going to emphasise from the start of this tour the importance of keeping our discipline.
“It is a nice reminder that sometimes things happen and you need to take one for the team. If you get whacked and respond, the consequences for the team can be severe. We might find a similar situation in Australia if someone is grabbed off the ball and we have to make sure we don’t react.”