LONDON (AP)England back Owen Farrell should be available for the start of the Six Nations despite receiving a four-match ban on Wednesday for a dangerous tackle while playing for club team Saracens.
Farrell’s ban will be reduced to three games, the RFU said, if he completes a World Rugby coaching intervention program. That would mean he will be able to play again after Jan. 28 and in time for England’s opening Six Nations game against Scotland on Feb. 4.
The availability of Farrell, who can play flyhalf and center, will be a boost for new England coach Steve Borthwick ahead of his first game in charge against Scotland. Regular England No. 10 Marcus Smith has been out since November with injury.
Farrell was cited after Saracens’ 19-16 win over Gloucester on Friday for a tackle where his shoulder made contact with Gloucester forward Jack Clement’s head.
The referee did not review the 75th-minute incident but an RFU disciplinary panel found the tackle should have resulted in Farrell receiving a red card.
Farrell will miss Saracens’ games against Lyon on Saturday, Edinburgh on Jan. 22 and Bristol on Jan. 28.
England’s game against Scotland will be considered the fourth game of the ban if Farrell is selected, as expected, by Borthwick in the Six Nations squad on Monday.
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