Owen Farrell is free to play for England at the World Cup after a foul play review committee rescinded his red card for a dangerous tackle against Wales.
The flyhalf’s shoulder-led challenge to the head of Taine Basham during England’s 19-17 win at Twickenham on Saturday was upgraded from a yellow card to red during the match itself by the recently-introduced ‘Bunker’ review system.
— Brett Igoe (@brettruganalyst) August 12, 2023
Farrell was cited and appeared before an independent judicial committee for breaking Law 9.13: a player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously.
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World Rugby’s mid-range sanction for a dangerous tackle is six games, which put his participation at the World Cup at risk, especially since Farrell served a three-match ban for the same offence in January and had already reduced that ban by one week through the “tackle school” intervention.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) August 15, 2023
The all-Australian judicial committee consisted of Adam Casselden SC, John Langford and David Croft, who considered the available evidence and submissions from Farrell and his legal representative.
Farrell’s defence was based on acknowledging that he had committed an act of foul play, but denying that it fell into the red card threshold.
The judicial committee agreed that the tackle should have been a yellow card, as they found that the actions of England hooker Jamie George brought about a significant enough change in Basham’s direction.
Farrell is free to captain England from Saturday’s World Cup warm-up match against Ireland.
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