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Sport BBC Six Nations interviewer Sonja McLaughlan left in tears after abuse over Owen Farrell interview

00:55  28 february  2021
00:55  28 february  2021 Source:   walesonline.co.uk

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Respected BBC sports interviewer Sonja McLaughlan received so much abuse after Wales v England she was left in tears.

The reporter, who was pitch-side for the BBC's Six Nations coverage after Wales secured a Triple Crown victory, revealed she had received disgusting abuse via social media on Saturday night following her interview with Owen Farrell.

"Toxic, embarrassing, disgraceful, appalling", she wrote on Twitter.

"Just some of the feedback I’ve had. Thanks for using @ sign so it’s all hit home. Now imagine getting inundated with abuse for doing your job. In my car crying. Hope you’re happy".

As is usual after matches, each side's head coach and captain appear to conduct post-match interviews on TV, and McLaughlan interviewed Wayne Pivac, Eddie Jones, Alun Wyn Jones and Farrell.

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In the interview of the latter, McLaughlan asked if England were robbed by poor officiating, to which he replied: "That's not for us to talk about.

"We got back into it in the second half and didn't quite finish it off. There's plenty that we can do better."

Knowing fans at home would want to hear more on the controversial incident leading up to Josh Adams' try - whereby there were just 22 seconds between referee Pascal Gauzere telling Farrell to speak to his players about discipline and resuming play - McLaughlan asked if England could have been more alert in that moment.

"I'd have to look back at it", the skipper responded. "I don't know from where I was stood at that moment in time."

Persisting with the talking point of the game, McLaughlan asked what he was trying to say to the referee, clearly feeling he had a case to make.

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But before she could completely finish her question, Farrell interrupted and said: "Look, there's no point us talking about it now.

"That's for everyone else to talk about.

"We'll focus on what we can control."

In reference to Louis Rees-Zammit's build-up to Liam Williams' try, Farrell was asked if was a knock-on or not.

"Again, we'll control what we can control", he responded, interrupting again.

The broadcaster came back with another question, saying: "What you clearly couldn't control was England's penalty count, how much do you feel you shot yourself in the foot there, and Sheedy nails three kicks."

"Yeah, it was an issue for us, and it's something we're going to have to look at because I thought the effort was good, I thought the intent was good.

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"But we can't let teams off that many times like we did."

Farrell was then asked about Maro Itoje's discipline, before the interview ended with McLaughlan saying she appreciated Farrell's time and the captain thanking the broadcaster.

The sporting world and beyond has rallied to show its support to McLaughlan, who was just doing her job (very well, many would say).

BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker said: "Well this is awful! Sonj, u are SO good at your job. Over the years I have used you as an example to many wannabe sports journalists. You never shy away from the awkward stuff & always find the right mix of insight, probing questions & humour."

Bernard Jackman responded by saying: "I thought you were excellent today Sonja, and remember 'A tiger doesn't lose sleep over the opinion of sheep'."

ITV Wales presenter Andrea Byrne said: "There is absolutely no excuse for abuse like this on any social media forum. And no one should end their working day feeling like you are.

"People are cruel. And I guarantee they wouldn’t say it face to face. Keyboard warriors doing their worst."

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