England are set to find out on Tuesday what impact, if any, disciplinary rulings on Billy Vunipola and Owen Farrell will have on their World Cup campaign.
Vunipola was sent off during a 29-10 warm-up loss to Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.
As happened to Farrell the previous weekend, Vunipola saw his initial yellow card upgraded to a red by the recently introduced bunker review system.
Vunipola was dismissed for a head-high challenge on Andrew Porter early in the second half at Lansdowne Road.
That offence threatens Vunipola’s involvement at a World Cup where he is the only specialist No. 8 in England’s squad for a tournament they start against Argentina in Marseille on September 9.
The Six Nations, the organisers for the warm-up fixtures, announced Monday that Vunipola’s hearing would take place on Tuesday, having already said Farrell’s case would be heard earlier that day.
Farrell is facing another disciplinary panel after World Rugby appealed against the controversial decision to downgrade the fly-half’s red card for a high shoulder-led challenge on Taine Basham during a 19-17 warm-up win over Wales at Twickenham to yellow.
Both Farrell and Vunipola are facing six-week bans that can be reduced for mitigation.
But with 2019 losing finalists England having just one more warm-up match before the World Cup – against Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday – any suspension would cast a cloud over their match against the Pumas and the remainder of their Pool D campaign.
Farrell is not only England’s captain, he is also their first-choice goalkicker, while a lack of specialist cover for Vunipola means head coach Steve Borthwick will be desperate to have the back-row available as well.
© Agence France-Presse
Photo: Glyn KIRK / AFP