Owen Farrell could miss England’s Six Nations opener against Scotland next month after being cited for a dangerous tackle during Saracens’ 19-16 Premiership win over Gloucester.
The Saracens fly-half, 31, is in line to start for England in Steve Borthwick’s first game in charge, against Scotland at Twickenham on February 4.
But he could be sidelined following what appeared to be a high, shoulder-led charge on Gloucester replacement Jack Clement near the end of a tense encounter at Kingsholm on Friday, where Farrell landed a winning drop-goal with the last kick of the game.
A statement issued Monday by England’s governing Rugby Football Union on Monday said Farrell had been cited for “dangerous tackling”.
He will now face a disciplinary hearing at 1830 GMT on Tuesday.
Match referee Karl Dickson took no on-field action against Farrell, after what appeared to be a miscommunication with the T|V match official.
But citing commissioner James Hall has ruled Farrell, appointed England captain by former coach Eddie Jones, does have a case to answer after the stand-off’s shoulder made contact with Clement’s chin.
Mid-range dangerous tackles, including contact to the head, come with a six-week ban, which can be halved with a good disciplinary record. Suspensions can also be reduced if offenders agree to undergo a course in improving their tackling technique.
Farrell was banned for five games in 2020 following a high tackle on Wasps player Charlie Atkinson, and questions about his technique have been raised before, notably when he escaped sanction for a shoulder charge on South Africa’s Andre Esterhuizen at Twickenham in 2018.
Punishments for suspensions incurred at domestic level in rugby union can also be applied to international matches.
Farrell’s hearing created another headache for Borthwick, among the crowd at Kingsholm, following injuries to back-row Tom Curry and hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie.
Asked about the Clement incident, Saracens rugby director Mark McCall said after the match: “I was pitchside for the last three or four minutes, so I haven’t seen it yet.
“I have heard there is a potential high tackle that I will have to look at.”
Gloucester coach George Skivington said: “It is really tricky to comment on it. I don’t want to end up in a judiciary myself, so I have to keep shtum. I will just say that consistency across games will be good.”
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