Controversial Steward red card overturned

By Sports Desk March 22, 2023

England fullback Freddie Steward has been cleared to play for his country with immediate effect after the red card he received against Ireland was overturned.

Steward was dismissed in England's final Six Nations clash of this year's tournament as they lost 29-16 to Grand Slam winners Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

The 22-year-old received the contentious red near the end of the first half after his shoulder connected with the head of Hugo Keenan.

Steward appeared before an independent disciplinary committee via video link to protest his innocence.

The committee determined that head contact with an opposing player had occurred and believed it had been an act of foul play, adding Steward "had been reckless in his actions and in his upright positioning as he approached and came into highly dangerous contact with the other player".

However, it was also decided that "there were sufficient mitigating factors including the late change in the dynamics and positioning of the opposing player which should have resulted in the issue of a yellow card rather than a red card".

The decision means Steward will not face a ban and is free to play again immediately.

England captain Owen Farrell said after the game: "I was surprised [at the red card] if I am honest. But it is not up to us, we don't make the rules, we don't put them in place, we don't hear what goes on on the ref mic and the process that they go through.

"That is the decision they came to and you have to accept it."

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