Owen Farrell gets Six Nations all-clear as RFU send England captain to tackle school

Reprieve: Owen Farrell  (PA)
Reprieve: Owen Farrell (PA)

Owen Farrell will be free to start England’s Six Nations campaign despite what amounts to a three-week ban for his high tackle in Saracens’ 19-16 win over Gloucester.

Farrell will be available for England’s Six Nations opener against Scotland on Saturday, February 4, in a major boost to new head coach Steve Borthwick.

The Saracens fly-half was cited for a tackle on Gloucester’s Jack Clement in Friday night’s Gallagher Premiership clash at Kingsholm.

The officials did not review the incident in the match, leaving Farrell on the field to drop the winning goal in Saracens’ last-gasp victory.

An independent disciplinary hearing imposed a four-week suspension, with one week to be reduced by completing World Rugby’s tackle school.

“Farrell accepted foul play but challenged that it met the red card threshold,” the RFU revealed in a statement. “However, the panel upheld the charge and Farrell received a four-match ban. This will be reduced to a three-week ban if the player completes the World Rugby coaching intervention programme.”

Farrell will therefore be free to feature in Borthwick’s first game at the England helm, provided he completes the requirements. All indications are that Farrell will do so and then be free for the entire Six Nations.

Farrell will miss Saracens’ Champions Cup clashes against Lyon and Edinburgh and the Premiership match against Bristol.

The independent panel identified Saracens’ match against Leicester on February 19 as the possible fourth match of the sanction.