Six Nations: Farrell 'surprised' by Steward red
England captain Owen Farrell was "surprised" by Freddie Steward's red card during his team's 29-16 defeat to Ireland in the final round of the Six Nations.
Steward received the contentious red right at the end of the first half after the fullback's shoulder connected with the head of Hugo Keenan.
It was Steward's first red card in what was his 22nd match in Test rugby for his country, and was England's first Six Nations red card since Charlie Ewels was sent off against Ireland last year.
"I was surprised if I am honest," Farrell said after the game. "But it is not up to us, we don't make the rules, we don't put them in place, we don't hear what goes on on the ref mic and the process that they go through. That is the decision they came to and you have to accept it.
"I thought the game was a brilliant contest. I thought it was a brilliant Test match and the way that we reacted after we got that red card was very good.
"I thought we fought for each other and unfortunately we didn't get out the right side of the result which is very disappointing in an England shirt but the reaction to things that didn't go our way – and the card being one of them – especially after last week I thought was brilliant."
England head coach Steve Borthwick would not be drawn on the incident, only explaining his thought process when it happened.
"To be honest, my thinking was, 'Red card, we are down to 14, what is the significance, what do we need to make from a tactical adjustment point of view?'" he said. "Whenever a referee goes through a disciplinary process like that, I'm thinking as a coach, 'Right, if it goes this way, what is the significance?' That is where my head turned to."
He did though eventually add: "If we are talking about tackle height, we can have a conversation about tackle height. That is fine. What was clear there was that Freddie was not trying to make a tackle.
"There will be a disciplinary procedure. It is not right for Owen and me to be talking about the incident. The decision happened and quite rightly the England team respects the decision.
"The players were magnificent on the pitch. They respect the decision that happened, and we talk about how we adapt thereafter. He [Steward] wasn't trying to make a tackle so it's not about tackle height."