Owen Farrell: England captain’s World Cup involvement in doubt again as World Rugby appeals overturned red card

Owen Farrell sent off for high tackle in England’s match against Wales and was expected to receive ban but red card was reduced to yellow by independent panel; World Rugby has now appealed against the decision, with England captain now left in limbo about his World Cup participation

        Owen Farrell: England captain's World Cup involvement in doubt again as World Rugby appeals overturned red card

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell describes the debate surrounding his son, Owen’s disciplinary process for a dangerous tackle as a ‘disgusting circus’

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has criticised the “circus” surrounding his son Owen, calling it “absolutely disgusting”, with the England captain’s World Cup participation in doubt.

World Rugby has appealed against the disciplinary decision that saw fly-half Farrell’s red card against Wales overturned and the 31-year-old has since been left out of Saturday’s World Cup warm-up game against Ireland.

Owen’s father Andy said: “The circus that’s gone on in and around all of this is absolutely disgusting, in my opinion, disgusting.

“I suppose those people that have loved their time in the sun get a few more days to keep going at that.

“Whatever I say is probably flawed anyway. When you’re talking about somebody’s son and asking the question, it’s always going to be flawed, so what does that really matter?

“I don’t normally say too much because of that type of reason about my son.”

Owen Farrell was sent off during England’s 19-17 victory at Twickenham on Saturday for a high tackle which saw his shoulder catch Taine Basham in the head.

He appeared before a video disciplinary hearing on Tuesday morning where he had the card overturned due to the mitigating factor that Jamie George had pushed Basham before he was hit causing a “late change in dynamics” that “brought about a sudden and significant change in direction from the ball carrier”.

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This mitigation led the all-Australian panel to a decision that Farrell, who was expected to face a four to six-week suspension, should have received only a yellow card.

        Owen Farrell: England captain's World Cup involvement in doubt again as World Rugby appeals overturned red card

England’s George Ford said he and his team-mates were delighted captain Owen Farrell avoided a lengthy ban

The reaction to the decision by the panel was immediate, with the general sentiment being it went against the precedent set on punishments for such tackles and now, World Rugby has appealed having examined the written judgement of the hearing.

The hearing has now been confirmed for next week, Six Nations Rugby saying: “Six Nations Rugby can confirm it has received an appeal from World Rugby in respect of Owen Farrell’s independent disciplinary hearing decision.

“An independent appeal committee will hear the case early next week at a time and date to be confirmed.

“The chair and members of the committee will be confirmed in the coming days.”

The appeal means Farrell’s participation in the 2023 Rugby World Cup is in renewed doubt. The tournament begins on September 8, with England’s opener against Argentina a day later.

        Owen Farrell: England captain's World Cup involvement in doubt again as World Rugby appeals overturned red card

England’s Joe Marchant says after captain Owen Farrell’s sending off against Wales, the squad will be looking to lower their tackle height throughout the World Cup

“World Rugby fully supports the important role that an independent disciplinary process plays in upholding the integrity and values of the sport, particularly regarding foul play involving head contact,” it said in a statement following the appeal.

“Player welfare is the sport’s number one priority, and the head contact process is central to that mission at the elite level of the sport.

“In line with provisions set out under Regulation 17, an independent appeal committee will be appointed to determine the matter at the earliest possible opportunity.

“Further details regarding the hearing, including appointments and date, will be confirmed by Six Nations Rugby.”

Lawes to captain England in Dublin

Courtney Lawes will captain the England side in Farrell’s absence, with George Ford starting at fly-half and named a vice-captain.

Ford’s start at fly-half is one of six changes to the side that defeated Wales 19-17 at Twickenham last Saturday.

In the front row, prop Ellis Genge is one of two changes to the forward pack, having won his 50th cap from the bench last Saturday, and he is joined by Will Stuart and Jamie George to complete the front row.

David Ribbans comes back into the side having successfully completed his return to play protocol and will be alongside Maro Itoje in the second row.

An unchanged back row sees captain Lawes continue with last weekend’s player of the match Ben Earl and Billy Vunipola at No 8.

Ben Youngs and Ford make up the half-back partnership, with Manu Tuilagi starting his first game of the Summer Nations Series in the centres with Joe Marchant.

There is then a new set of wingers as Anthony Watson is named on the right wing with Elliot Daly on the left and Freddie Steward at full-back.

Among the replacements, Ollie Chessum is back in an England shirt for the first time since the Guinness Six Nations having recovered from an ankle injury, with Theo Dan, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Jack Willis, Danny Care, Marcus Smith and Ollie Lawrence completing the bench.

“It is a great challenge against the number one ranked team in the world and we are all excited for this fixture,” added Borthwick.

“The game will be excellent preparation for us ahead of the Rugby World Cup.”

England side to face Ireland

Starting XV: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Jamie George, 3 Will Stuart, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 David Ribbans, 6. Courtney Lawes (C), 7 Ben Earl, 8 Billy Vunipola

Replacements: 16 Theo Dan, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Ollie Chessum, 20 Jack Willis, 21 Danny Care, 22 Marcus Smith, 23 Ollie Lawrence

Ireland side to face England

Starting XV: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Mack Hansen, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 1 Andrew Porter, 2 Dan Sheehan, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 5 James Ryan (C), 6 Peter O’Mahony, 7 Josh van der Flier, 8 Cian Prendergast

Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Jeremy Loughman, 18 Finlay Bealham,19 Joe McCarthy, 20 Caelan Doris, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Jack Crowley, 23 Keith Earls