- Farrell gets four-game ban after successful appeal by World Rugby
- Player welfare remains a top priority
- Vunipola also undergoing disciplinary proceedings
England captain Owen Farrell is set to miss the first two Rugby World Cup pool games following a successful appeal by World Rugby against the decision to overturn his red card. The ban stems from a high tackle he made during a match against Wales on August 12th, which initially resulted in a red card. This decision was later overturned by an independent judicial committee, but the appeal committee upheld World Rugby’s appeal, reinstating a four-game ban for Farrell.
Farrell to miss Argentina and Japan matches
As a result, Farrell will be absent from England’s initial World Cup encounters against Argentina and Japan, as well as two warm-up matches. The appeal committee emphasized that the tackle was “always illegal” and faulted the initial disciplinary committee for not fully considering Farrell’s attempt to wrap his opponent during the tackle.
Vunipola also faces ban
The appeal committee’s decision aligns with their priority of player welfare. This incident highlights ongoing efforts within rugby to enhance safety, particularly in relation to high tackles and head contact. In parallel, England’s number eight, Billy Vunipola, is also undergoing disciplinary proceedings for a red card received due to a high tackle in a match against Ireland. A ban exceeding one game for Vunipola would further challenge England, leaving them without their sole specialist number eight at the start of the competition.
Punters looking to back England at the tournament need to monitor how a disrupted build up and the absence of key players in the early pool games will affect the team in the matches concerned and in the tournament as a whole.