Red card furore goes to heart of player welfare fears in rugby

Critics of last week’s decision to rescind Owen Farrell’s red card say if issues of discipline and safety aren’t dealt with in good faith, it will mean the end of the sport

England's Owen Farrell. Last week, an independent committee decided to rescind the red card the England rugby captain had received for a dangerous tackle against Wales. A day later, World Rugby said it intended to appeal the decision. Picture: Getty

Irish Rugby head coach Andy Farrell paused, drew breath and stared back at the assembled press corps before addressing the controversy that has put his son’s participation at the upcoming Rugby World Cup at risk.

“The circus that’s gone on in and around all of this is absolutely disgusting, in my opinion. Disgusting,” Farrell said.

The circus Farrell referred to was the attention surrounding his son’s dangerous tackle against Wales a week earlier.

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