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England face anxious wait over Ellis Genge following Hougaard incident

By Ian Cameron
Ellis Genge /BT Sport

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England face an anxious wait over the availability of Leicester Tigers’ prop Ellis Genge, who was yellowed carded during his side’s shock 16-13 Gallagher Premiership loss to Wasps at the Coventry Building Society Arena this afternoon.

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Tigers’ incredible season to date came to a shuddering halt as the side came up one game short of breaking a long-held Newcastle Falcons record. If they had won they would have matched the best start to a Premiership season of 12 straight wins achieved by Newcastle in 1997-98.

The hot-tempered match was punctuated by a flare-up between a number of players and the Leicester prop.

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The Leicester skipper escaped with a yellow card for striking opposition wing Francois Hougaard in the face during an incident just before the halftime buzzer.

While referee Tom Foley only brandished a yellow, many suggested Genge was fortunate not to have been given a straight red after appearing to intentionally hit Hougaard in the head.

The question is whether the citing Andy Blyth finds that Genge’s striking of the South African, albeit with an open hand, meets the red card criteria.

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Others argued that Genge could might also be sanctioned for technically making contact with the eye area of winger, although replays suggested that any contact was fleeting at best.

As a result, Genge – who won his 100th Leicester cap in defeat – could potentially miss out on England’s opening Guinness Six Nations game against Scotland if Blyth decides the loosehead has a case to answer.

The Bristol-bound 26-year-old made no mention of the incident on social media following the game, preferring to thank fans on his century of caps.

“Thanks so much to travelling support, fantastic as always. An honour for me to make 100 appearances for such a great club,” wrote Genge.

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If he does miss the Six Nations opener, he might not be the only loosehead to do so, with Scottish opposite number Rory Sutherland likely to miss the first game after being red-carded today against Bath.

Sutherland is a doubt for the curtain-raiser on February 5 after he was dismissed by referee Craig Maxwell-Keys for a head-on-head challenge that forced Bath prop Will Stuart off the pitch. He will now face a disciplinary hearing.

“By the letter of the law it’s a red card and you can’t argue with it, but I think there is an issue with the law,” said Worcester head coach Jonathan Thomas. “I retired from rugby because of head knocks, so I am all about ensuring player safety.

“But it is an accidental head-on-head collision, and the footwork used by Stuart has to be a mitigating factor. Something is wrong with the game if we are going to have a sending-off for that.”

 

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