Freddie Steward’s controversial red card against Ireland rescinded

Freddie Steward was sent off in England’s defeat to Ireland  (PA)
Freddie Steward was sent off in England’s defeat to Ireland (PA)

Freddie Steward’s controversial red card against Ireland has been rescinded, with a disciplinary committee ruling that referee Jaco Peyper was wrong to send off the England full-back.

Steward was contentiously dismissed f just before half-time by Peyper after his elbow made contact with the head of Hugo Keenan as the Irish player stooped to retrieve a loose ball.

Peyper had reached a red card ruling in consultation with his television match official (TMO), saying that there was “no mitigation” for a challenge that carried a “high level of danger”.

However a citing committee has now dismissed the sending off, ruling that Peyper should have shown yellow to the England full-back.

Steward is therefore free to play immediately.

A statement from the Six Nations said: “Having reviewed all the evidence, the Committee decided that: (i) head contact with an opposing player had occurred; (ii) there had been an act of foul play in breach of Law 9.11 in that the Player had been reckless in his actions and in his upright positioning as he approached and came into highly dangerous contact with the other player; and (iii) there were sufficient mitigating factors including the late change in the dynamics and positioning of the opposing player which should have resulted in the issue of a yellow card rather than a red card.

“On that basis, the Committee did not uphold the red card and the player is free to play again immediately.

“The Committee acknowledged that match officials are required to make decisions under pressure and in the heat of a live match environment.”

Steward is now available for Leicester Tigers’ Premiership encounter with Bristol Bears on Saturday afternoon.

England were beaten 29-16 in Dublin as Ireland claimed a Grand Slam.

The hosts led 10-6 at the point of Steward’s dismissal on the stroke of half-time.

Steve Borthwick’s side finished the Six Nations fourth, with two wins and three defeats from their five games in the former lock’s first campaign as England head coach.