Owen Farrell

England dealt World Cup blow as Farrell suspended

 The first-five initially escaped sanction from the Six Nations judiciary who downgraded his sending off to a yellow card, but following an appeal by World Rugby his red card has been reinstated and he's been suspended.

An independent disciplinary hearing on Wednesday morning upheld his red card, handing the playmaker a four-match suspension including Pool D fixtures against Argentina and Japan.

England's 29-10 loss to Ireland on Sunday served as the first match of his suspension, and he will also sit out the final warm-up fixture against Fiji this weekend.

England's Owen Farrell and Jamie George ruled out of South Africa Test through injury

Farrell (ankle) and George (knee) have withdrawn from the squad with injuries sustained in last Saturday's 32-15 win over Australia.

Gloucester's Harry Elrington and Jack Singleton have now been called up to Eddie Jones' 34-man squad.

Joe Marler will join on Friday after completing his 10-day isolation period following a positive Covid-19 test.

George, 31, was not named in the initial autumn squad but the Saracens hooker was recalled a day later following an injury to Luke Cowan-Dickie.

Farrell tests positive for Covid

The RFU said Farrell would miss Saturday's training after returning a positive PCR test and would remain in isolation and would be lateral flow and PCR tested again on Saturday. All other player and staff PCR test results received were negative.

Farrell had been due to start at flyhalf but his likely absence means a probable start for Marcus Smith, who was named among the replacements after missing parts of training this week with a leg injury.

Owen Farrell kicks England to Autumn Nations Cup final victory in extra-time

England were the red-hot favourite just five weeks after pipping France to the Six Nations title. They had 10 times the experience, and home advantage at Twickenham.

But a young France team of second and third stringers led for 65 minutes until the last minute of regulation time when England pulled out a converted try from a lineout drive to tie the score at 19-19.

That forced the final into 20 extra minutes of sudden death, with the first to score the winner.

Owen Farrell works on tackling technique as World Rugby cracks down on dangerous play

Farrell was guilty of reckless no-arms challenges against South Africa and Australia last autumn – escaping punishment for both – to raise concerns over his risky style of halting opponents.

World Rugby are determined to rid the game of contact to the head and in May issued a directive clarifying the process for officiating high tackles and shoulder charges, including the wider use of cards.

While England head coach Eddie Jones is concerned that games risk being “destroyed” by a poor decision from officials, he has also seen the value in refining Farrell’s approach.

Owen Farrell free to play All Blacks

Citing commissioner Keith Brown had until today to make a decision but the New Zealander elected not to take action against the England co-captain.

If Brown had decided the shuddering hit was worthy of a red card, it would have triggered a citing that could have prevented Farrell playing in England's highly anticipated match against the world champions.

The clock had ticked past the 80-minute mark at Twickenham with England desperately trying to keep the Springboks at bay when Farrell smashed into replacement Andre Esterhuizen, knocking him back and dislodging the ball.