England began their Guinness Six Nations campaign with narrow a 20-17 defeat to Scotland at BT Murrayfield and one of the big turning points came when Luke Cowan-Dickie was deemed to have deliberately slapped the ball forward into touch to prevent Darcy Graham catching a Finn Russell cross-field kick.
The result of that 66th-minute action saw the Exeter Chiefs hooker sent to the sin-bin and a penalty try awarded to the home side, which levelled the scores at 17-17.
It proved to be an even more decisive blow just moments later, as Russell’s expert kick forced England into having a five-metre lineout, without a hooker on the field.
Prop Joe Marler’s throw did not reach the five-metre line and Scotland won the match-winning penalty from the subsequent scrum.
It was such a turning point that Cowan-Dickie felt the need to take to Twitter to explain his actions in a heartfelt post, which resulted in team-mates and fans supporting the 28-year-old.
Cowan-Dickie said: “Just want to apologise to all you supporters for today. I let myself and you guys down.
“Every time I play for my country, I want nothing more than to make you guys proud. Thanks for all the support. Looking forward to bouncing back next week!”
England Rugby’s tweet of support was one of many that Cowan-Dickie received.
He was rightly inundated with supportive replies and in reference to his errant lineout throw in Cowan-Dickie’s absence, team-mate Marler replied in his typically good-humoured way, jokingly saying: “You ruined my 100% throwing record!” with a heart emoji at the end.
And World-Cup winning flanker Neil Back backed the hooker, saying: “Absolutely no need to apologise.”
It wasn’t just rugby personalities who let Cowan-Dickie know he needn’t worry, with plenty of posts from fans – like this one from a Scotland supporter, who showed just why rugby is such an inclusive family.
He said: “Delete this mate. Not required. None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes.
“I say this as a Scotland supporter who thought you played a hard, fair game today. Back out there again next weekend. Max effort.”
He was not the only one either as many England fans were quick to show their support.