The outcry has been widespread after the England captain got off without a ban


World Rugby has confirmed it will appeal the decision to downgrade England captain Owen Farrell’s red card to a yellow, clearing him to play immediately.

Farrell was initially sin-binned for a high tackle on Wales’ Taine Basham in England’s 19-17 win on Saturday but the card became red after the TMO bunker deemed it worthy of a sending off.

Read more: “Get away with… – Listen to George Ford’s slip-up after Farrell cleared”

Many had expected Farrell to at least miss the start of England’s World Cup campaign with an entry point ban of six weeks for offences of this sort. However, an independent disciplinary committee found that there was sufficient mitigation in the tackle due to the actions of Jamie George, ruling that a yellow card was sufficient.

The ruling read: “The Committee found that a late change in dynamics due to England #2’s interaction in the contact area brought about a sudden and significant change in direction from the ball carrier. This mitigation was sufficient to bring the act of foul play below the red card threshold.”

World Rugby appeal Farrell decision: Full statement

In a statement, World Rugby said: “World Rugby has today confirmed to the Rugby Football Union and Six Nations Rugby that it will exercise its right to appeal in regard to the Owen Farrell disciplinary decision following a careful review of the independent Judicial Committee’s full written decision received on 16 August.

“World Rugby fully supports the important role that an independent disciplinary process plays in upholding the integrity and values of the sport, particularly regarding foul play involving head contact. Player welfare is the sport’s number one priority, and the Head Contact Process is central to that mission at the elite level of the sport.

“Having considered the full written decision, World Rugby considers an appeal to be warranted.

“In line with provisions set out under Regulation 17, an independent Appeal Committee will be appointed to determine the matter at the earliest possible opportunity. Further details regarding the hearing, including appointments and date, will be confirmed by Six Nations Rugby.”

Related: England Rugby World Cup squad

As the Rugby World Cup warm-ups are technically part of the Summer Series convened by Six Nations Rugby, the panel falls under its jurisdiction rather than World Rugby’s.

The reaction to Farrell escaping a ban has been overwhelmingly negative online with fellow professionals slamming the decision. Bristol Bears and Samoa forward Steven Luatua wrote on social media: “No ban? What a joke.”

Several Tonga players took issue with the decision-making process after team-mate and former All Black George Moala was sent off against Canada and initially handed a 10-week ban for a tip tackle on Ben LeSage. Although that was reduced to five, the likes of Pita Ahki, Malakai Fekitoa and Vaea Fifita have all voiced their displeasure.

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