Owen Farrell was sent off as England came from behind to beat Wales 19-17 in a scrappy World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham on Saturday.
The flyhalf and English captain was initially shown a yellow card for a high tackle to the head of Wales replacement Taine Basham in the final quarter.
But under new rules that allow a review panel to consider an act of foul play while the game is in progress, that was soon upgraded to a red.
Owen Farrell’s yellow card is upgraded to a red card after a decision from the bunker which deemed it to be of a high level of danger with no mitigation 👀
— SuperSport Rugby (@SSRugby) August 12, 2023
When Farrell left the field on Saturday, it meant a lacklustre England, who kicked off close to full strength, were down to 12 men with replacement prop Ellis Genge and full-back Freddie Steward having been shown yellow cards as well.
But England overhauled a 17-9 deficit thanks to Maro Itoje’s converted try from a driving maul and a late penalty from replacement George Ford as they avoided a fourth successive defeat and a slump to ninth in the world rankings.
The worry now for England, who have two more warm-up games, against Ireland and Fiji, is that any ban for Farrell could rule their talisman out of the start of the World Cup, with Steve Borthwick’s team launching their Pool D campaign against Argentina in Marseille on September 9.
Farrell’s three-match ban for a similar offence in January could now count against him in any disciplinary hearing.
Adding to England’s concerns was the ankle injury suffered by scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet, with the Wales trio of captain Dewi Lake, Taine Plumtree and Basham all going off injured as well.
“Regarding Owen, we’ll wait and see what happens,” England coach Steve Borthwick told Amazon Prime.
“The same with Jack van Poortvliet, he’ll get a scan. Rather than jump to any conclusions, we’ll wait and see what happens.
“As this builds, I want to make sure we’ve got fundamentals in place. Our set piece, our kicking game and defence were in a strong position. The attack is the final building block and takes the longest to come, but that’s what we’re working on.”
© Agence France-Presse
Photo: Ben Stansall / AFP