Appeal casts fresh doubt over Owen Farrell’s World Cup involvement

By Sports Desk August 17, 2023

Owen Farrell’s participation in the World Cup is in doubt again after World Rugby appealed against the decision to overturn his red card from Saturday’s clash with Wales.

An independent disciplinary panel caused an outcry on Tuesday when it cleared Farrell to play despite his shoulder-led tackle to the head of Taine Basham that was expected to result in a significant ban.

But having examined the written judgement of the hearing, World Rugby believes there are grounds for an appeal, the date for which has yet to be confirmed.

The furore surrounding England’s captain – instigated by a verdict that 2003 World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward insists has “made the game a complete and utter laughing stock” – has had repercussions for Saturday’s clash with Ireland.

Steve Borthwick had intended to pick Farrell for the Dublin showdown but revealed when announcing his team that he had been forced to revise his plans, instead starting George Ford at fly-half with Marcus Smith present on the bench.

“In my original planning for the Summer Nations Series and as part of our World Cup preparation, Owen Farrell was due to be selected to play in Saturday’s Test,” Borthwick said.

“However, in light of the fact that so much of Owen’s training and match preparation time this week has been significantly affected and interrupted by the disciplinary process, I have not selected him in the matchday 23. Owen will travel to Ireland with our full support.

“Owen understands the situation but is of course disappointed, as I am, that he is missing such a special game that he would otherwise have played in.”

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