(Reuters) – England captain Owen Farrell will appear before an independent appeal hearing on Tuesday as he seeks to stave off a potential ban for his red card in the win over Wales last weekend that will throw his Rugby World Cup future into doubt.
Flyhalf Farrell received a yellow card, later upgraded to a red during the match on review and then reduced back to yellow by a Six Nations Rugby independent Judicial Committee, for a dangerous tackle on Wales loose-forward Taine Basham.
The Judicial Committee this week agreed with Farrell that there were mitigating circumstances in the collision, in which his shoulder struck the head of Basham, as England team mate Jamie George pushed the Wales player into his path.
The decision caused uproar on social media, with ex-players and player welfare advocates almost unanimous in agreeing it set a bad example at a time when the long-term effect of head injuries is in the spotlight.
World Rugby have appealed, much to the irritation of England coach Steve Borthwick, who has slammed the process and said the player continues to have their full support.
Farrell received a four-match ban for a similar no-arms tackle while playing for Saracens earlier this season and has had several issues with his technique in the past.
If he does receive a suspension, it likely will rule him out of England’s first two matches at the World Cup – crucial Pool D clashes against Argentina and Japan.
Farrell has not been selected for the warm-up fixture against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.
England will also play Fiji on Aug. 26 in their final warm-up game before the tournament starts in France next month.
(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Ken Ferris)