Player could face ci­ta­tion on Fer­ris bite ac­cu­sa­tion

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Rugby Six Nations -

ENG­LAND ARE set to dis­cover this evening whether one of their play­ers will face dis­ci­plinary ac­tion for al­legedly bit­ing the fin­ger of Ire­land flanker Stephen Fer­ris.

The ac­cu­sa­tion was made to ref­eree Nigel Owens in the 28th minute of Eng­land’s 30-9 vic­tory at Twick­en­ham on Satur­day.

Owens did not see the al­leged in­ci­dent but con­firmed to the two cap­tains, Chris Rob­shaw and Rory Best, it would be looked into af­ter the match.

The in­de­pen­dent cit­ing com­mis­sioner Al­berto Re­cal­bini has un­til 6.30pm to­mor­row to study all in­ci­dents in the match and de­cide whether to cite any play­ers.

When Owens ad­dressed Rob­shaw and Best, he said: “I have an ac­cu­sa­tion of bit­ing, a clear mark on the fin­ger. I did not see some­thing. If I do it will be dealt with se­verely, which would be a red card. It could be dealt with af­ter­wards. If it is seen it will be dealt with. I did not see it.

“Have a word. Noth­ing like that takes place in this game. I can only deal with what I see. Have a word please.

“I have had a look. Un­less I can see it, it’s been dealt with, okay?”

Owens then added: “This game is dif­fi­cult enough with­out stuff like that, is that clear?”

Owens then ap­proached Fer­ris while he was be­ing treated and said: “I have done all I can. It has been noted. If I don’t see it I can’t do noth­ing about it. It has been spo­ken about and dealt with.”

Rob­shaw in­sisted af­ter the game he had not seen any­thing un­to­ward on the pitch.

Asked how he would re­act if one of Eng­land’s play­ers had bit­ten an op­po­nent, Rob­shaw said: “It is one of those things we will have to ad­dress when we meet up, but at the mo­ment it is in­no­cent un­til proven guilty, so to speak. “We will see what hap­pens.” Un­der In­ter­na­tional Rugby Board reg­u­la­tions, the low­est en­try level sus­pen­sion for bit­ing is 12 weeks, with the max­i­mum be­ing four years.

Mean­while, Stu­art Lan­caster has turned his at­ten­tions to con­vinc­ing the Rugby Foot­ball Union he is the man to lead Eng­land into the 2015 World Cup.

Judg­ing by the re­ac­tion at Twick­en­ham, and among those who gave Lan­caster a stand­ing ova­tion at the of­fi­cial din­ner af­ter Eng­land’s crush­ing 30-9 vic­tory on Satur­day, the in­terim coach has al­ready won over the rugby public. Nick Mal- lett, who is thought to be Lan­caster’s main ri­val for the full-time coach’s job, con­ceded last night it would be hard for the RFU to ap­point any­one else.

Lan­caster has led Eng­land to sec­ond place in the cham­pi­onship with a new-look team that has re­stored a sense of pride in the red rose fol­low­ing the World Cup de­ba­cle. But Lan­caster’s ap­point­ment is far from guar­an­teed. RFU chief ex­ec­u­tive Ian Ritchie has in­sisted re­sults alone would not dic­tate whether he gets the job.

The RFU is thought to have tar­geted its re­cruit­ment to­wards a coach with the ex­pe­ri­ence of guid­ing a lead­ing na­tion into a World Cup, and they first con­tacted Mal­lett in De­cem­ber.

But Lan­caster, ex­pected to be in­ter­viewed in the com­ing week, be­lieves he has all the qual­i­ties for the job af­ter his time at Leeds and in the RFU’S academy struc­ture. The only part Lan­caster had not ex­pe­ri­enced was coach­ing a team in a Test match and he hopes vic­to­ries over Scot­land, Italy, France and Ire­land will en­hance his case.

“A lot of peo­ple al­ways talk about ex­pe­ri­ence,” Lan­caster said. “To be suc­cess­ful do you have to un­der­stand the pre­mier­ship, do you have to un­der­stand the Eng­land cul­ture, do you have to have knowl­edge of young play­ers, do you have to have knowl­edge of the best play­ers, do you have to have knowl­edge of the pre­vi­ous en­vi­ron­ment? I think I had all that ex­pe­ri­ence, to be hon­est. The only bit I didn’t have was the games and I’ve learnt as I’ve gone and tried to get up to speed as quickly as I could with in­ter­na­tional coach­ing.

“I’ve still got loads to do and loads to go, but I had the be­lief.

“Part of the dy­namic of in­ter­na­tional coach­ing is to get the best out of peo­ple and to build a team and cul­ture that peo­ple buy into. If you look at our per­for­mances, I think we’ve done that.”

Tom Croft skips over the tackle of Ire­land cap­tain Rory Best dur­ing the sec­ond half at Twick­en­ham

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