Owen Farrell, the England rugby captain, may miss the opening games of the Rugby World Cup after being sent off in a match against Wales at Twickenham. Initially shown a yellow card for making forceful contact to the head of Taine Basham while attempting to tackle him, Farrell’s penalty was upgraded to a red after a review by television match official Brian MacNeice. His teammates expressed support for their leader, with George Ford stating that they will rally around him regardless of the situation. England’s preparation and game plan will remain focused on winning, despite the potential absence of Farrell.
The incident involving Farrell has highlighted the use of the “TMO bunker” system, which is being trialled during the Summer Nations Series. This system allows for on-field penalties to be reviewed off-field, and it is likely to be implemented for the upcoming World Cup in France. Given Farrell’s disciplinary history and the severity of the incident, it is expected that he will receive a suspension that could rule him out of some World Cup matches.
Farrell has previously faced disciplinary action for a high tackle while playing for Saracens, resulting in a three-match ban. However, it is unlikely that he will have the option to attend World Rugby’s coaching intervention programme, also known as “tackle school,” this time. A citing panel will convene next week to determine the length of Farrell’s suspension.
Former England international Topsy Ojo predicts a ban for Farrell, stating that although he is not a dirty player, he has crossed the line on a few occasions. The hope is that the ban will not last throughout the World Cup, although the length is yet to be determined. With starting scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet already injured, a possible ban for Farrell could leave England’s coach Steve Borthwick searching for a new half-back partnership just weeks before the tournament begins.
England has two more warm-up games before their first World Cup match against Argentina in Marseille on September 9. In addition to Farrell, three other players from England and two from Wales were shown yellow cards during the match, making it a busy evening for referee Nika Amashukeli.
Overall, the red card for Farrell has raised concerns about his potential absence in the World Cup and the impact it may have on England’s chances. The team remains focused on their preparation and remains determined to win despite the challenges they face.