England captain Owen Farrell will miss the first two matches of the Rugby World Cup after an independent disciplinary hearing upheld his red card yesterday, handing the flyhalf a four-match suspension including Pool D fixtures against Argentina and Japan.
England’s 29-10 loss to Ireland on Saturday served as the first match of his ban, and he will also sit out the final warm-up fixture against Fiji this coming weekend.
Farrell faced a second disciplinary panel in a week after World Rugby appealed against the decision to downgrade his red card to yellow for a dangerous tackle on Wales loose-forward Taine Basham during England’s 19-17 warm-up win on Aug. 12.
Last week, the judicial committee verdict that there were mitigating circumstances in the collision, in which his shoulder struck the head of Basham, caused an uproar on social media and among pundits, as well as player welfare advocates.
The hearing panel yesterday said the committee was “manifestly wrong” in its verdict as they did not consider that Farrell had not attempted to wrap his arms in the tackle, and therefore it was always illegal.