England lock red-carded for dangerous tackle on James Ryan

Charlie Ewels sent off in second minute against Ireland

Charlie Ewels was sent off just 82 seconds into England’s Six Nations match against Ireland at Twickenham.

The England lock was red-carded for a dangerous tackle on James Ryan in the opening minute, with referee Mathieu Raynal saying he had no option but to send off Ewels.

The incident was brought to his attention by TMO Marius Jonker after play was stopped for Ryan to receive treatment for a head injury. Ryan was subsequently permanently removed from the match.

Upon reviewing the footage and applying World Rugby’s Head Contact Process, Raynal said there was clear head contact, that it was reckless and that Ewels was “leading with the head”. Ewels had stayed “upright” in making the tackle, rather than bending at the waist, so he was sent off by the officials.

It was the earliest-ever red card in a Six Nations match, according to Opta.

Ireland were quick to make their numerical advantage count, Johnny Sexton slotting the penalty that resulted from the red card – to a chorus of boos around the Twickenham stands. The visitors then scored a try in the sixth minute when James Lowe was released down the wing and touched down in the corner.

Yet at the hour mark the scores were level at 15-15 but Ireland broke 14-man England down eventually with late tries from Jack Conan and Finlay Bealham to win 32-15.

Ewels is only the second England player to be sent off in a Five/Six Nations match, after Manu Tuilagi became the first against Wales in 2020.

Besides Ewels and Tuilagi, five other players have been sent off playing in a Test match for England. Elliot Daly in 2016, Lewis Moody in 2005, Simon Shaw in 2004, Danny Grewcock in 1998 and Mike Burton in 1975.

The Ewels red-card decision split opinion on social media. Former Wales centre Tom Shanklin felt it was the right call.

Red Roses No 8 Poppy Cleall felt there was mitigation.

Scotland international Ruaridh Jackson wasn’t impressed by the decision.

Let us know what you think of the decision by emailing rugbyworldletters@futurenet.com

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