England captain Owen Farrell is facing the possibility of missing the start of the World Cup after being sent off in a 19-17 victory over Wales at Twickenham on Saturday. Farrell’s yellow card for a shoulder-led tackle to the head of Taine Basham was upgraded to a red by the bunker review system, leaving England with only 12 men due to the previous yellow cards shown to Freddie Steward and Ellis Genge.
The disciplinary hearing next week will determine Farrell’s availability for the remainder of the group stage, including the critical opener against Argentina on September 9. His outlook may be further affected by previous sanctions for dangerous tackles, such as a ban reduced to three games in January for attending tackle school.
Head coach Steve Borthwick refrained from commenting on the incident, stating that he will wait for the outcome of the disciplinary process. Despite Farrell’s absence, England managed to recover from a 17-9 deficit and secure victory through a try from Maro Itoje and a penalty from George Ford.
Borthwick expressed his pride in the character shown by the players, especially in the face of adversity with only 12 men on the field. He highlighted the resilience and fighting spirit instilled in the team, which has been a focus of their training.
Warren Gatland, the Wales boss, agreed with the decision to upgrade Farrell’s card to a red, especially seeing the replacement flanker Basham fail a Head Injury Assessment as a result of the tackle. Gatland expressed hope that Farrell does not receive a lengthy ban, recognizing his importance to the game. He also acknowledged that the incident will be reviewed based on Farrell’s previous disciplinary history.
Gatland also commented on Steward’s sin-bin offence for a clumsy tackle on Josh Adams in mid-air, stating that it was on the threshold of a yellow to a red card. He mentioned that the decision could have gone either way depending on the official, and he is curious to see the outcome of the review.
In terms of injuries, Gatland revealed that Dewi Lake and Taine Plumtree are being assessed for knee and shoulder injuries, respectively, which they sustained in the first half. He expressed disappointment in how Wales managed the final quarter of the match, as they let a 17-9 lead slip from their grasp.
In conclusion, Owen Farrell’s red card has put his participation in the World Cup at risk. While England showed great resilience in their victory over Wales, they will face challenges in his absence. The outcome of the disciplinary hearing and the disciplinary history of Farrell will heavily influence his availability for future matches.