England centre Piers Francis has been cleared to continue playing in the World Cup after his citing for a dangerous tackle was dismissed on the grounds it was not a red card offence.
Francis caught Eagles full-back Will Hooley with a shoulder-led challenge to the head in the opening seconds of Thursday’s 45-7 victory at Kobe Misaki Stadium.
At the disciplinary hearing in Tokyo that took place on Sunday, Francis admitted the tackle was dangerous but insisted it warranted a sin-binning only and the committee agreed.
“Having considered all the angles of the incident, together with evidence from the player and submissions from his legal counsel, the panel determined that the act ought to have resulted in a yellow card on-field,” a World Rugby statement read.
“Since the threshold for upholding a citing is ‘red card’, the committee did not uphold the citing and the player is free to play again immediately.”
Mitigating factors such as Hooley’s sudden change in height before contact and Francis’ attempt to change his own height shaped the decision.
It means Francis is free to play in the crunch Pool C clash with Argentina on Saturday, although as a fringe player in Eddie Jones’ squad he is unlikely to be involved.
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