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Ex-England out-half makes a 'controversial' Farrell ban prediction

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Alex Davidson/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Former England No10 Andy Goode has given his prediction on the outcome of the disciplinary hearing that current talisman Owen Farrell faces on Tuesday night following his citing after last Friday’s Saracens win at Gloucester. Alleged foul play committed by the Autumn Nations Series England skipper late in the Gallagher Premiership match at Kingsholm went unpunished at the time as referee Karl Dickson opted not to review the footage brought to his attention by TMO Claire Hodnett.

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Instead, Farrell was allowed to play on without sanction for his shoulder to the head of Gloucester’s Jack Clement and he went on to land the match-winning drop goal a few minutes later. The incident that took place inside the home team’s half ignited a lengthy post-match debate on BT Sport, though, with ex-England players Lawrence Dallaglio and Austin Healey both insisting that Farrell should have been red-carded.

It was 10:05am on Monday when the RFU confirmed that Farrell was being cited for the alleged dangerous tackle and his case will now be heard at 6:30pm on Tuesday by an independent disciplinary panel chaired by Philip Evans with Becky Essex and Mitch Read.

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Ahead of that hearing, which places the availability of Farrell for the February 4 Guinness Six Nations opener versus Scotland in jeopardy, Goode, another former England international, has shared his thoughts on the Clement collision and has predicted that the low-end foul will only be punished by a two-week ban, freeing Farrell for selection to face the Scots.

Appearing on The Rugby Pod, the show he co-hosts with ex-Scotland lock Jim Hamilton, Goode said: “I’m going to be really clear on this – the referee Karl Dickson and the TMO Claire Hodnett have had an absolute stinker.

“This goes back to World Rugby saying we want the game to be really fast and we don’t want TMOs to be involved as much. Well, tell Gloucester fans that because they rushed through the decision. I get what Karl Dickson said. He said had it [the Farrell tackle on Clement] been part of the last phase of play? What he meant was the last passage of play. Claire Hodnett then panics. She reacted off Austin Healey picking it up and going why hasn’t that been looked at that, you have to look at this. How the TMOs aren’t better at their jobs is beyond me.

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“I’d love to have a go at being a shadow TMO for a match,” Goode continued. “I do it from home and sit there and when I’m watching it, I see things. Ex-players do. You see a hit that you know is borderline, why isn’t it being replayed and checked straight away and buzzed down?

“The Owen Farrell one, you know he is at the side of a ruck and is in an upright tackler so you should be watching for that and it’s a clear red card and I’ll be controversial here to everyone who thinks that he should be banned for a long, long time – it’s low end and here are the sanctions on it: low-end is two weeks, mid-range six weeks and then high-end is ten weeks in terms of dangerous tackle.

“Jack Clement got up and played on and it’s not necessarily about the impact that he [Farrell] has afterwards around the drop goal but for me, it’s a high shot, shoulder to head, there is a bit of force there, not a huge amount but enough to jolt him [Clement]. It’s 100 per cent a red card, he [Farrell] should have been sent off there and then had the TMO and the referee done their jobs properly.

“But when it comes to the disciplinary hearing, our podcast, we record it on Monday, it will be out Tuesday morning and the hearing is Tuesday evening – he [Farrell] is only going to get a two-week ban and people will look at that and go well, that is just the RFU looking after their own players. Well, I don’t think it is.

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“The judicial committee is independent even though they are from the RFU so for me, being honest it is a two-week and a low-end entry point. It is going to ruffle feathers either way because if he gets six weeks and they reduce it to three so he can play against Scotland, everyone is going to go mad about that.

“And if they only give him two weeks and say it’s a lower-end entry point well, people will go mad about that as well and say he should have more. But without a shadow of a doubt, it should have been a red and I reckon he will get a two-week ban.”

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