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Gatland backs officials over Farrell red card after England loss

12 Aug 2023 3 minute read
Referee Nika Amashukeli shows a red card to England’s Owen Farrell. Photo David Davies/PA Wire.

Wales coach Warren Gatland backed the officials after Owen Farrell was red-carded  in the 19-17 defeat against England in the World Cup warm up game at Twickenham.

England skipper 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.

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.

England trailed 17-9 when Farrell departed, yet remarkably they recovered to snatch victory through a Maro Itoje try and George Ford penalty.

Gatland said it was the right call to upgrade Farrell’s 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.”

“It was probably on the threshold of a yellow to a red. He’s taken him out high in the air,” Gatland said of Steward’s yellow.

“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 also revealed that Dewi Lake (knee) and Taine Plumtree (shoulder) are being assessed for the injuries they sustained in the first half.

Wait and see

England now face the prospect losing their captain for the World Cup 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.

“I’ll wait and see what comes of the disciplinary process,” head coach Steve Borthwick said of Farrell’s sending off.

“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.”

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Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 months ago

Owen Farrell is well known for his dirty play which often goes unpunished. But his luck finally ran out today when his yellow card was upgraded to red resulting in his sending off for his dangerous play, which now means he’ll miss the beginning of England’s World Cup campaign unless the RFU pulls a few strings. Watch this space.


8 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

The answer to your comment is in the content….. “the RFU will pull a few strings” that no other nation are allowed to pull!!

8 months ago

Gatland needs to get a few wins under his belt before mouthing off like he did last week after Cymru defeated England. He should just keep quiet and stop making a pillock out of himself. Cymru has a long way to go before doing any bragging. Support, encouragement and instilling confidence in his team should be his priority. By the way I am a Cymro and a Cymru fan.

8 months ago

Freddie Steward taking out Josh Adams in the air was a definite red card in my opinion, he was lucky to get away with that

Malcolm Jones
Malcolm Jones
8 months ago
Reply to  WilliamsG

Very very lucky absolutely a straight Red card no other UK country would get away with that dangerous tackle

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