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'It's reckless - there is one loser here and it is James Ryan'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)

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Former Scotland second row Jim Hamilton had predicted that red-carded England lock Charlie Ewels will be on the receiving end of a six-to-eight-week ban when the result of his upcoming Six Nations disciplinary hearing is known. Eddie Jones’ pent-up forward was sent off just 82 seconds into last Saturday’s round four game versus Ireland after he clattered into the head of James Ryan with his own head. 

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Referee Mathieu Raynal had no hesitation in brandishing the red card having reviewed the footage of the Ewels tackle on the big screen at Twickenham and while the decision was roundly booed by numerous England fans in the stadium, ex-Scottish forward Hamilton and his Rugby Pod co-host, ex-English out-half Andy Goode, have sided with the French official and insisted he made the correct call. 

Ewels is now set to appear at a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday night and if Hamilton’s hunch is correct, it won’t be until May that the Bath player is seen on a rugby pitch again. Goode kicked off the red card discussion on the latest show, outlining: “Charlie Ewels sees James Ryan, James Ryan leaves the ball for (Johnny) Sexton and Charlie Ewels follows. People are like, ‘Oh it’s accidental’. If you are running upright and you are half a yard away from a tackle it is your own fault. There is no question it’s a red card.”

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Back in the Game – RFU
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Back in the Game – RFU

Hamilton wholeheartedly agreed. “All I am thinking looking at that, if you are giving Duhan van der Merwe a two-week ban for a hand-off (three weeks but with the last week scratched if he attends tackle school), Charlie Ewels is getting six to eight weeks for that and I say that not because I want to see him get banned for six to eight weeks, I am talking degree of danger. 

“I’m talking about everything in the game in which we are all hoping gets rid of in terms of head-on-head contact. We don’t even need to sit here and answer that question of whether or not it was a red card. I refuse to answer it – it was a red card. There is one loser here and it is James Ryan. That’s it. 

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“Yes, England lost and was the game worth it [14 versus 15)]? I actually think it was better for it. England, that whole emotional spin, the atmosphere at Twickenham, the booing and that whole hysteria around it made it more of a game and just to back to the point on Charlie Ewels, he is the one out there with dust in his face in the arena but you can’t tackle like that now and he has gone in with force. That is the thing and there is no getting away from it. 

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“I know the Duhan van der Merwe thing is old news but if you are giving a red card and two weeks for that, then Ewels should be getting a long ban for that because it is reckless. But I really enjoyed the game. 

“I really enjoyed that England tried to fight back, I enjoyed their scrum coming back into it and the emotion that that lifted. I enjoyed seeing the vulnerabilities around Ireland and how it should have been easier for them to play England because England were down to 14 men and it wasn’t and it made it a real Test match.”

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