RUGBY UNION

Midweek Sport - - TV GUIDE -

ENG­LAND lock Court­ney Lawes will miss two World Cup games af­ter he was found guilty of knee­ing Ar­gentina’s Mario Ledesma.

Lawes, the first player to be banned at the tour­na­ment, is out of Eng­land’s Pool B matches against Ro­ma­nia and Ge­or­gia but will be avail­able to face Scot­land on Oc­to­ber 1.

The Northamp­ton lock en­tered a not guilty plea at a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing in Auck­land on Tues­day – hav­ing been cited fol­low­ing Eng­land’s 13-9 win against the Pu­mas in Dunedin.

The independent ju­di­cial of­fi­cer Terry Wil­lis, from Aus­tralia, re­duced the ban from three to two weeks on ac­count of Lawes’ “ex­cel­lent dis­ci­plinary record and re­morse”. Eng­land man­ager Martin John­son was dis­ap­pointed with the ver­dict but the early in­di­ca­tions were that Eng­land would not ap­peal.

John­son said: “He has dived in to make what he thinks is a try-sav­ing tackle and we thought any con­tact with the knees was in­ci­den­tal.

Ab­sence

“They ob­vi­ously saw it a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ently.”

John­son will wait un­til Eng­land’s trav­el­ling QC Richard Smith has stud­ied the full writ­ten judge­ment be­fore mak­ing a fi­nal de­ci­sion over an ap­peal. Eng­land have the re­sources to cover Lawes’ ab­sence for the Ge­or­gia and Ro­ma­nia games, with Louis Dea­con, Si­mon Shaw and Tom Palmer in the squad as locks, while Tom Croft and Nick Easter can both fill in.

“It is dis­ap­point­ing to lose him,” said John­son. “For a young man he played very well. It is not great.”

Eng­land are con­fi­dent cap­tain Lewis Moody will be avail­able to face Ge­or­gia on Sun­day.

Moody has not played since limp­ing out of Eng­land’s first warm-up in­ter­na­tional with knee lig­a­ment dam­age.

John­son added: “An­other week is al­ways bet­ter when you have been in­jured for a long time but, at some point, you’ve got to go and we are hope­ful.”

FILL MY HOLE: Lawes’ ban has left John­son (in­set) frus­trated

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