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Francis cited for first-minute tackle

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Piers Francis cited for first-minute tackle against the USA

England centre Piers Francis has been cited for an act of foul play contrary to Law 9.13 (dangerous high tackle) in England’s World Cup 2019 match against USA on Thursday.

The player will attend a hearing before an independent Judicial Committee chaired by Nigel Hampton QC (New Zealand), joined by former international coach Frank Hadden (Scotland) and former international referee José Luis Rolandi (Argentina).

The hearing will take place in Tokyo on a date to be agreed with the player and his representatives.

Eddie Jones had little to say about the Francis incident during the post-match media conference in Kobe: “We never discuss that area and leave that to whoever it is and take whatever is handed out.”

However, former Wales midfielder Jamie Roberts, who is working at the tournament as a TV pundit, pointed out that if Australia’s Reece Hodge’s three-week ban has set the standard at this RWC, Francis should expect the same punishment. 

(Continue reading below…)

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Both Francis’ and Hodge’s tackles are comparable, although American Will Hooley dipped into the tackle slightly more than Fiji’s Peceli Yato had. It could also be argued that Francis initially hit the shoulders and slid up. 

Then again, Francis was coming in at a greater speed and it could be deemed to be more reckless. What does come across is that neither player showed any malice if that does count for anything. 

Former Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell, who has been very critical of the decision to ban Hodge, posed the question on Twitter as to what Francis should expect and another three-week ban seems to be the verdict.

Hodge was initially banned for six weeks, but it was halved based on his character and record, so the same should be expected for Francis.

WATCH: Eddie Jones, Steve Borthwick and George Ford discuss England’s victory over the USA

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Piers Francis cited for first-minute tackle against the USA