Owen Farrell has been banned for his tackle on Taine Basham and will now miss two of England’s Rugby World Cup pool stage matches.
A second independent disciplinary panel has suspended Farrell for four weeks, meaning he will miss England’s opening two World Cup fixtures against Argentina and Japan.
The decision comes after World Rugby appealed the first panel’s decision to rescind his red card.
Farrell received a yellow card in the 63rd minute of the Twickenham showdown against Wales earlier this month, but this was upgraded to red by the bunker review system.
In his first hearing, the 31-year-old accepted that he had made contact with Basham’s head and that it was a dangerous tackle and that the degree of danger involved warranted a red card.
However, the fly-half argued that there was mitigation that made the offence worthy of a yellow only as Jamie George’s attempted tackle on Basham caused the Wales flanker into a sudden change in movement and drop in head height.
The first disciplinary panel agreed with Farrell and rescinded his red card.
The second Committee upheld World Rugby’s appeal on the grounds that Farrell did not ‘wrap his opponent in the tackle’.
The Appeal Committee unanimously determined that in the original hearing, the Disciplinary Committee should have considered the attempt of the player to wrap his opponent in the tackle – which did not feature in the original decision.
The statement confirming the suspension read: “The failure to attempt to wrap was judged to be an important element of the Foul Play Review Officer’s (FPRO) report and had led to an upgrading of the referee’s yellow card to a red card during the match.
“As this element did not feature in the original decision, the Appeal Committee decided it was in the interests of justice to hear the case afresh on that key point alone, which included hearing from the player.
“Following the review by the Appeal Committee of this key element, it was determined that the FPRO was correct in his decision leading to the red card. The Appeal Committee subsequently determined that the tackle was ‘always illegal’.
“When applying the terms of World Rugby’s Head Contact Process, no mitigation can be applied to a tackle that is ‘always illegal’.
“The Appeal Committee, therefore, considered that the Disciplinary Committee’s decision to downgrade the red card to a yellow card had been manifestly wrong, which led to the Disciplinary Committee’s decision being overturned, the appeal brought by World Rugby being allowed, and the red card upheld.”
The Committee applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point for foul play resulting in contact with the head – six matches. They agreed on a four-match suspension after considering all considerations, including the player’s acceptance of foul play, clear demonstration of remorse and his good character.
Farrell was set to feature in England’s match against Ireland last weekend, which he voluntarily stood down from.
That much has been included in the sanction, along with England’s final World Cup warm-up match against Fiji on Saturday.
Owen Farrell’s four-game suspension
Ireland v England – 19 August 2023
England v Fiji – 26 August 2023
England v Argentina – 9 September 2023
England v Japan – 17 September 2023
READ MORE: A closer look at all of Owen Farrell’s bans for dangerous tackles
The article Owen Farrell banned for dangerous tackle and will miss the start of England’s Rugby World Cup appeared first on Planetrugby.com.