The England fly-half was delighted to have his mate and captain available but potentially surprised...
The widespread surprise at Owen Farrell’s red card being downgraded to yellow, clearing him to play immediately, was summed up when his fellow fly-half and England team-mate George Ford appeared to come up with an unfortunate slip-up on live radio.
Farrell was initially shown yellow by Georgian referee Nika Amashukeli in Saturday’s 19-17 victory over Wales at Twickenham. However, the TMO bunker intervened and upgraded the England captain’s punishment to a red card.
On Tuesday, Farrell appeared before an all-Australian virtual disciplinary committee that ruled Jamie George’s actions before Farrell’s tackle on Taine Basham provided sufficient mitigation. The statement read: “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.”
The verdict saw the internet explode with the overwhelming view that Farrell should have received a ban for the tackle. The entry point was set to be a six-week ban which would have been enough to rule him out the entire Rugby World Cup pool stage.
While there was certainly external shock at the decision, it appeared to also catch one of those inside Steve Borthwick’s Rugby World Cup squad off guard too.
Related: England Rugby World Cup squad
Speaking on BBC Radio 5Live, Ford was asked about the news and said: “It’s great for us in terms of having our captain and leader back in, and getting away with… (breath) obviously going through the process and cracking on as normal.”
Unfortunately for him, the Freudian Ford slip-up did not go unnoticed and was soon doing the rounds on social media.
Ford, who is an old schoolmate and England age-grade team-mate of Farrell, stepped into the breach at No 10 on the weekend and received praise for his performance, steering England – who at one stage were down to 12 men after a discipline horror show – to a narrow victory and even kicking the winning penalty.
England face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday in the third of their four Rugby World Cup warm-ups.
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