England captain Owen Farrell is set to miss the start of the World Cup after being sent off in Saturday’s 19-17 victory over Wales at Twickenham.
Farrell’s yellow card for a shoulder-led tackle to the head of Taine Basham was upgraded to a red by the bunker review system, reducing the home side to 12 men because of the yellow cards shown to Freddie Steward and Ellis Genge.
England now face the prospect losing their captain for the critical opener against Argentina on September 9, with his availability for the remainder of the group stage to be determined by a disciplinary hearing next week.
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Fixtures against Ireland and Fiji complete the warm-up schedule and, while those games would be included in a suspension, his outlook will be affected by being sanctioned for dangerous tackles in the past..
As recently as January he received a ban that was reduced to three games for attending tackle school.
“I’ll wait and see what comes of the disciplinary process,” head coach Steve Borthwick said.
“Right now it would be wrong for me to comment on an individual incident that would likely go through a disciplinary procedure. I’ll deal with the facts of the situation.”
England trailed 17-9 when Farrell departed yet remarkably they recovered to snatch victory through a Maro Itoje try and George Ford penalty.
“I am incredibly proud of the character that the players showed,” said Borthwick, who confirmed Jack Van Poortvliet suffered an ankle injury.
“To go down to 12 men and be resilient and fight your way through that situation is immense credit to them. They just keep going.
“And that’s something they’ve worked hard to instil in this group, which is not something you’d potentially have said in the past.”
Wales boss Warren Gatland felt it was the right call to upgrade Farrell’s yellow card to a red after seeing his replacement flanker Basham fail an HIA as a result of the tackle.
“It was the right decision on the day. Hopefully for Owen’s sake he doesn’t get too long a ban, you need someone like him in the game,” Gatland said.
“He’d be a big loss to England if he does have a lengthy ban. Given his previous I’m not too sure what’s going to happen with that, fingers crossed it’s not long for him.”
Steward was sent to the sin-bin for taking Josh Adams out in mid-air with a clumsy tackle and referee Nika Amashukeli awarded a penalty try after the England full-back tackled Liam Williams over the line.
“It was probably on the threshold of a yellow to a red. He’s taken him out high in the air,” Gatland said.
“Sometimes that decision, if it had been made by another official, might have been a red card. It was pretty close. It will be interesting to see what they come back with when they review it.”
Gatland revealed that Dewi Lake (knee) and Taine Plumtree (shoulder) are being assessed for the injuries they sustained in the first half.
The Wales boss admitted his disappointment at how Wales managed the final quarter when they let a 17-9 lead slip from their fingertips.