Player could face citation on Ferris bite accusation
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