England's Francis avoids ban for high tackle

England's Francis avoids ban for high tackle

Piers Francis is free to play in England's crunch Rugby World Cup match against Argentina after avoiding a suspension for his high tackle in Thursday's win over the United States.

The centre was cited for a hit on Will Hooley just seven seconds into the Pool C encounter.

Francis admitted committing an act of foul play but denied the incident warranted a red card.

An independent disciplinary committee agreed and decided against imposing a ban despite handing out three-match suspensions to Australia's Reece Hodge and Samoa's Rey Lee-Lo for high tackles earlier in the tournament.

The judgement read: "Having considered all the angles of the incident, together with evidence from the player and submissions from his legal counsel, the panel determined that the act ought to have resulted in a yellow card on-field.

"Since the threshold for upholding a citing is 'red card', the committee did not uphold the citing and the player is free to play again immediately."

In its ruling, the committee referred to Hooley's "sudden change of height" and Francis' attempt to avoid head-high contact as mitigating factors.

The decision comes as a boost to Eddie Jones' side ahead of their clash with the Pumas in Tokyo on Saturday.

England are top of Pool C after two matches, having eased to a 45-7 win over USA following a 32-point tournament-opening victory over Tonga.

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