United States flanker John Quill was sent off in the 70th minute for a shoulder charge to the head of Farrell and now faces an early exit from the competition with a hefty ban likely for the back row.
The incident sparked a melee among the players that had referee Nic Berry shouting, “Hang on, hang on, don’t do anything silly.”
Only after tempers cooled and the teams were separated did he review footage shown to him by the television match official.
Berry can be heard saying, “I’ll tell you what I’m seeing. Seven White has made no attempt to use the arm. It is a direct shoulder to the head, it’s dangerous, there is no mitigation so it is going to be a red card against White seven.”
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The Australian official then called over Quill. “The first thing is you have got your arm tucked. Your shoulder has made direct contact to the head of the player, so it’s a red card.”
The sending off came near the end of a contest where England got the job done with a 45-7 bonus point victory over the United States, even if they made heavy work of it at times.
With a four-day turnaround after their opening Pool C victory over Tonga, coach Eddie Jones rang the changes but was rewarded with seven tries in humid conditions at a packed Kobe Stadium.
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Skipper George Ford, Billy Vunipola and Luke Cowan-Dickie scored tries before the break, with winger Joe Cokanasiga grabbing a brace and Ruaridh McConnochie and Lewis Ludlam also crossing in the second half.
The Americans never gave up and replacement Bryce Campbell finally got them on the scoreboard after the final siren.
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