Far­rell and Eng­land sweat over sus­pen­sion

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport | Rugby Union - By Kate Rowan at Al­lianz Arena

Owen Far­rell will dis­cover to­mor­row whether he will miss Eng­land’s resched­uled Six Na­tions fi­nale against Italy and the au­tumn in­ter­na­tional Eight Na­tions cam­paign af­ter his red card for a high tackle on Wasps re­place­ment Char­lie Atkin­son on Sat­ur­day.

The 28-year-old Eng­land cap­tain re­ceived the first red card of his pro­fes­sional ca­reer af­ter he felled the Wasps academy player, who was ap­pear­ing in just his sec­ond Premier­ship fix­ture, with a high tackle.

As a re­sult, his chances of play­ing in the Cham­pi­ons Cup quar­ter-fi­nal meet­ing with Le­in­ster on Sept 19 have been se­verely dented.

A three-per­son ju­di­ciary panel will de­cide Far­rell’s fate. It will con­sist of for­mer lawyer and dis­trict county judge Mike Ham­lin, act­ing as chair along­side bar­ris­ter and sports law ex­pert Gareth Gra­ham and for­mer Eng­land, Leicester and Glouces­ter player Leon Lloyd.

There has been much de­bate sur­round­ing how se­vere Far­rell’s pu­n­ish­ment should be. It should count in his favour that it was his first red card, he im­me­di­ately showed con­tri­tion and apol­o­gised to Atkin­son as the 18-year-old hob­bled off the field. How­ever, due to a his­tory of high tack­les, he could be given a longer ban.

For­mer Eng­land cap­tain Lawrence Dal­laglio fears the worst. “We know Owen plays hard, he plays on the edge, but that is bad, and he will get a lengthy ban”, he told BT Sport. “We know it’s been a prob­lem with Owen. He’s go­ing to re­ally strug­gle.

“He knows he’s com­pletely mist­imed that, he’s hooked him around the neck and that is bad news for Saracens with that Cham­pi­ons Cup quar­ter-fi­nal in two weeks and I sus­pect he’ll miss quite a lot of the re­main­der of this sea­son for sure.”

was con­tro­versy in 2018 over sim­i­lar in­ci­dents in the Test arena af­ter Far­rell es­caped pu­n­ish­ment for tack­les on South African An­dre Ester­huizen and Aus­tralian Izack Rodda. The en­try-level ban for an in­fringe­ment of the na­ture of Far­rell’s is two weeks. How­ever, as Far­rell was cited in 2016 for a dan­ger­ous tackle on an­other Wasps player, scrum-half Dan Rob­son, the pu­n­ish­ment could be seen to come in at the mid-level, which is six weeks. Eng­land play Italy on Oct 31.

There have never been sug­ges­tions Far­rell’s propen­sity for mis­placed tack­les has been ma­li­cious, with Wasps head coach Lee Black­ett say­ing “Owen didn’t mean it” af­ter the match, which was poised at 15-15 be­fore the send­ing-off.

Jimmy Gop­perth, who was Far­rell’s op­po­site num­ber, kicked 23 of Wasps’ points as he cap­tained the side on his 100th Premier­ship ap­pear­ance for the club. Of Far­rell’s tackle, he said: “It wasn’t great. And to be fair to Owen Far­rell, he was very sorry straight away. But you don’t like to see that hap­pen to the young kid. Char­lie said to me at the end: ‘That wasn’t in the script.’ He will bounce back. He’s a great young kid.”

The Far­rell in­ci­dent over­shad­owed a key vic­tory for an un­der­strength Wasps against an al­most full-strength Saracens start­ing XV.

The hosts ap­peared to be in dress-re­hearsal mode for their Euro­pean quar­ter-fi­nal, with El­liot Daly scor­ing within mo­ments of the start, only for Wasps to grind down what seemed like a dis­tracted Saracens side with Far­rell and usu­ally tal­is­manic team-mates Maro Itoje and club cap­tain Brad Bar­ritt not look­ing men­tally in the match.

Af­ter 51 min­utes, Saracens seemed to up their game as wing Sean Mait­land dot­ted down, but, af­ter Far­rell’s send­ing-off, they flagged.

Wasps’ only try came from the im­pres­sive Tom Wil­lis, the 21-yearold brother of Jack – who was not in the match­day squad – who played on the blind side and sealed vic­tory with a late score.

‘I sus­pect he will miss quite a lot of the re­main­der of the sea­son’

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