Saracens’ Owen Farrell to miss Leinster quarter-final after five-match ban
England captain received red card for reckless challenge on Wasps’ Charlie Atkinson
Saracens’ Owen Farrell apologises to Charlie Atkinson of Wasps after being sent off for a dangerous tackle on him during the Gallagher Premiership match. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images
Owen Farrell will miss Saracens’ Champions Cup quarter-final against Leinster after being issued with a five-match ban for his dangerous tackle against Wasps on Saturday.
Farrell faced an online disciplinary hearing on Tuesday night to answer for the first red card of his career after being sent off on the hour mark of the Gallagher Premiership defeat at Allianz Park.
The 28-year-old was dismissed for a high and reckless tackle on 18-year-old replacement full-back Charlie Atkinson, who was knocked out and will not train for at last two weeks because of concussion protocols.
Farrell had accepted the charge and independent panel chair Mike Hamlin said: “It was accepted by the RFU, the player and the panel that the offending was reckless and not intentional.
“This was a totally unacceptable contact with the neck/head of Charlie Atkinson as a result of a reckless tackle which had the consequences of him being knocked unconscious and sustaining a concussion.
“This resulted in the panel concluding that this was a top end offence with an entry point of 10 matches. There were no aggravating features.
“Testimonials provided by Mark McCall, Eddie Jones and the founders of a charity with which the player works very closely were of the highest quality.
“The panel concluded that applying the off-field mitigating factors, notwithstanding his suspension four and a half years ago, the player was entitled to a reduction from 10 matches to five meaningful matches under RFU regulation 19.11.11. The player is free to play again on 5 October.”
The ban rules him out of Saracens’ most important game of the season against Leinster at the Aviva Stadium on September 19th with Europe their only prospect of winning silverware following their relegation from the Premiership for repeated salary cap breeches.
And if the double winners pull off a shock by prevailing in Dublin, they will be missing their talisman for the semi-final a week later after he was told he can only resume playing from October 5th.