The England captain was one of four cards in 19-17 victory over Wales


An Owen Farrell red card left England with just 12 players on the field and put his participation in their opening World Cup matches in huge doubt following an ill-disciplined second-half horror show against Wales.

The England captain’s shoulder made direct contact with the head of Wales replacement Taine Basham. The incident was flagged by the TMO and when the replays flashed onto the big screen it provoked a coming together between the two sides.

Read more: England injury scare for key player

TV replays showed Farrell’s opposite man, Wales’ replacement fly-half Dan Biggar, taking particular issue with the illegal hit. Amazon Prime footage appeared to show Farrell mouthing ‘go on, go on’ to his former Lions team-mate.

Farrell was initially shown a yellow card by Georgian referee Nika Amashukeli before the new TMO bunker video review system upgraded the decision to a red card. He had been the fourth England player to see yellow in the game.

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Wing Henry Arundell was sin-binned in the 31st minute for deliberately tackling Liam Williams inside ten metres after the Wales full-back attempted to go quickly after calling a mark.

After the break, Ellis Genge came on to win his 50th cap but the loosehead prop was trudging back to the touchline four minutes later  after being shown yellow for “over leaning” in the scrum.

Freddie Steward was the next to go after tacking out Josh Adams in the air from Dan Biggar’s pinpoint cross-field kick. Adams appeared to fall on his arm before banging his head. Regardless, Steward was sent to the sin bin as the last line of defence and a penalty try was awarded. Steward’s card was not upgraded and he returned to the field.

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The Farrell incident took place in the 63rd minute and the England captain now faces an anxious wait. If the citing commissioner decides that Farrell’s offence meets the mandatory mid-range sanction of six weeks he could then miss the warm-up games against Ireland and Fiji as well as all of England’s pool games at the World Cup.

However, if there any mitigating factors found in Farrell’s favour the ban may well be reduced. That is not guaranteed given his previous disciplinary problems, he was given a four-match ban for a dangerous tackle in January.

Additionally, even if he was to receive a three-game ban he is still set to miss the opening Rugby World Cup clash against Argentina having already attended World Rugby’s tackle school at the start of the year to get that ban reduced by a game.

Players often see three-game bans reduced to two if they complete tackle school, such as Japan’s Pieter Labuschagne who is set to still be available for the Brave Blossoms’ clash against England in France after signalling his intention to complete the World Rugby Coaching Intervention Programme this week after receiving a red card against Fiji last weekend.

Somehow, England still managed to come away with the win at Twickenham as a Maro Itoje maul try and George Ford penalty ensured Borthwick’s men didn’t suffer back-to-back defeats to Warren Gatland’s spirited Wales outfit, emerging with a 19-17 victory in front of 74,256 fans.

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