Saracens playmaker Owen Farrell will be available for England’s opening Six Nations match against Scotland, despite his four-match ban.
Farrell was not sanctioned during the match for his tackle on Gloucester back-rower Jack Clement but has been handed a four-match ban by an independent disciplinary panel.
He will miss at least three of Saracens’ matches, including two Champions Cup ties, but will be available for the fourth if he completes the World Rugby Coaching Intervention Programme.
Farrell made direct contact to the chin of Clement in the latter stages of the Premiership match between Gloucester and Saracens last weekend.
The tackle was not penalised despite the TMO flagging the incident for referee Karl Dickson, as it was not established whether the incident occurred in the previous phase.
Farrell went on to slot the match-winning drop goal for Saracens.
Owen Farrell escapes punishment for this tackle.
TMO caught it, but officials were too late to it, apparently. #GallagherPrem pic.twitter.com/hVhBIWkbuQ
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— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) January 6, 2023
“Farrell accepted foul play but challenged that it met the red card threshold, however, the panel upheld the charge, and Farrell received a four-match ban”, an RFU statement read.
His suspension will be reduced to a three-week ban if he completes the World Rugby Coaching Intervention Programme.
The panel deemed that Farrell had made a reckless tackle that warranted a mid-range entry point of six weeks.
He was not eligible for a full 50% reduction in his suspension due to his previous dangerous tackle on Charlie Atkinson. Farrell was suspended for five weeks for that tackle.
However, he was given a two-week reduction for his ‘timely acknowledgement of his offending and considering his behaviour following the incident, during the hearing and leading up to the hearing’.
Farrell will miss the following games
January 14 v Lyon
January 22 v Edinburgh
January 28 v Bristol
February 19 v Leicester Tigers
As mentioned, the four-match suspension will be reduced to three games if he completes World Rugby’s Coaching Intervention Programme.
By doing so, he will be able to resume playing after Saracens’ Premiership clash with Bristol on January 28.
England’s Six Nations’ opener is against Scotland on February 4.