Charlie Ewels banned for two games after dismissal in England victory over Japan

Charlie Ewels has been withdrawn from England’s squad for their series against New Zealand after he was given a two-match ban for the red card received in Tokyo on Saturday.

Saracens’ Nick Isiekwe will replace the Bath second row in Steve Borthwick’s 36-man group and is due to arrive in Auckland on Tuesday.

Ewels earned the unwanted distinction of becoming the first England player to be sent off twice after his yellow card for a dangerous clearout in the closing stages of the 52-17 victory over Japan that opened the summer tour was upgraded to red.

The decision by the bunker review system was then upheld by a disciplinary hearing on Sunday, which rejected England’s assertion that while the clearout of Japan captain Michael Leitch was foul play, it did not warrant his dismissal.

By issuing a two-match suspension, the hearing ended Ewels’ involvement in the two Tests against the All Blacks, starting in Dunedin on Saturday week.

Ewels was only on the pitch for four minutes as a second-half replacement when he recklessly entered a ruck from a low position, taking out Leitch by angling into his legs.

It was his first Test since his last sending-off for a dangerous tackle against Ireland at Twickenham in the 2022 Six Nations, his international career interrupted by a serious knee injury sustained that same year.

Isiekwe made his England debut when replacing Ewels against Argentina in 2017 and now the Saracens forward, who can cover back as well as second row, now has the opportunity to add to his 11 caps.

Eight tries were amassed against a rebuilt Japan team coach by Eddie Jones in a pleasing start to the tour that saw Harlequins duo Marcus Smith and Chandler Cunningham-South produce commanding displays.

England head to New Zealand with a spring in their step while knowing there is work to be done on their discipline and cohesion when the bench arrives, as well as understanding the All Blacks will be a significant step up in class.

“The performance level will need to rise when we face New Zealand in two weeks’ time. The discipline… you can’t give that number of penalties away, we know that,” Borthwick said.

England head coach Steve Borthwick stands with a group of others during a training session at Twickenham
England head coach Steve Borthwick stands with a group of others during a training session at Twickenham (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“You also can’t give New Zealand the space we gave Japan but I expect our performance to go up a level.

“The team has had one session in England before we flew and, after getting over the jet lag, we’ve had one proper session in Japan since we arrived.

“To produce that display against Japan off a couple of sessions together has been very impressive from the players’ point of view but we will need to go up several levels – and I expect us to do so – when we face New Zealand.”