England dealt World Cup blow as Farrell suspended

8:12 am on 23 August 2023
England captain Owen Farrell.

England captain Owen Farrell. Photo: Photosport

Captain Owen Farrell will miss England's first two pool games at the Rugby World Cup after he was given a four match ban for a dangerous tackle during his side's win over Wales two weeks ago.

The first-five initially escaped sanction from the Six Nations judiciary who downgraded his sending off to a yellow card, but following an appeal by World Rugby his red card has been reinstated and he's been suspended.

An independent disciplinary hearing on Wednesday morning upheld his red card, handing the playmaker a four-match suspension including Pool D fixtures against Argentina and Japan.

England's 29-10 loss to Ireland on Sunday served as the first match of his suspension, and he will also sit out the final warm-up fixture against Fiji this weekend.

Farrell faced a second disciplinary panel after World Rugby appealed against the decision to downgrade the his red card to yellow for a dangerous tackle on Wales loose-forward Taine Basham during England's 19-17 warm-up win on 12 Aug.

Last week, the judicial committee verdict that there were mitigating circumstances in the collision, in which his shoulder struck the head of Basham, caused an uproar among pundits and former players as well as player welfare advocates.

-Reuters/RNZ

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