Owen Farrell to miss England's first two Pool games in Rugby World Cup

Owen Farrell has been handed a four-game ban
Owen Farrell has been handed a four-game ban

England captain Owen Farrell will miss the first two Pool games in the upcoming Rugby World Cup campaign after he was handed a four-game suspension.

The Saracens star will now be unavailable for their World Cup matches against Argentina and Japan with the warm-up games against Ireland and Fiji also included in the suspension. He will be available to play again on 23 September against Chile.

The 31-year-old was red-carded during the warm-up game against Wales for a high tackle on Taine Basham but was cleared to play after his red card was overturned by an Independent Judicial Committee.

Following the verdict, the World Rugby appealed against the decision following which Farrell attended another hearing on Tuesday.

The Appeal Committee in their verdict stated that Farrell's tackle was always illegal and added that the Judicial Committee did not take into account Farrell's failure to wrap when attempting the tackle which was the reason his card was upgraded from yellow to red.

“The failure to attempt to wrap was judged to be an important element of the Foul Play Review Officer’s (FPRO) report and had led to an upgrading of the referee’s yellow card to a red card during the match," read the statement.

“As this element did not feature in the original decision, the Appeal Committee decided it was in the interests of justice to hear the case afresh on that key point alone, which included hearing from the player.

“Following the review by the Appeal Committee of this key element, it was determined that the FPRO was correct in his decision leading to the red card. The Appeal Committee subsequently determined that the tackle was ‘always illegal’.

“When applying the terms of World Rugby’s Head Contact Process, no mitigation can be applied to a tackle that is ‘always illegal’.

“The Appeal Committee, therefore, considered that the Disciplinary Committee’s decision to downgrade the red card to a yellow card had been manifestly wrong, which led to the Disciplinary Committee’s decision being overturned, the appeal brought by World Rugby being allowed, and the red card upheld.”