'Disgusted': England 'cheap' shot divides rugby world

Riley Morgan
Sports Reporter

Rugby fans are calling for action against England inside centre Piers Francis after a brutal head high hit seven seconds into the clash against the USA.

Francis charged forward from the kick-off and flattened Will Hooley with a tackle with replays showing his shoulder making solid contact with the head.

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The Eagles fullback was laid out concussed and soon stretchered off the field.

Incredibly, Australian referee Nic Berry didn’t blow a penalty.

Piers Francis could face a suspension after this hit on Will Hooley. (Image: Fox Sports)

He also didn’t ask for assistance from the TMO.

Commentators on ITV were adamant Francis was fortunate not to be carded.

“It’s the opening five seconds and he has got away with one there really,” former World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio said.

“Probably because, a bit like in football, the referee maybe hasn’t penalised the first challenge.

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“Every tackle now, based on the Reece Hodge incident and the two Samoans, is going to be looked at very closely.”

Fans were very quick to call for a minimum three-week suspension following the precedent set when the governing body slapped Wallabies winger Reece Hodge with a three-week ban.

Despite the controversy, England's squad players got the job done with a solid 45-7 bonus point victory over the United States at the Rugby World Cup against a determined Eagles side.

With a four-day turnaround after their opening Pool C victory over Tonga, coach Eddie Jones rang the changes with 10 new picks but was rewarded with seven tries in humid conditions at a packed Kobe Misaki Stadium on Thursday.

Skipper George Ford, Billy Vunipola and Luke Cowan-Dickie scored before the break, with winger Joe Cokanasiga grabbing a brace and Ruaridh McConnochie and Lewis Ludlam also crossing in the second half.

United States flanker John Quill was sent off in the 70th minute for a shoulder-charge to the head of Owen Farrell but the Americans never gave up and replacement Bryce Campbell finally got them on the scoreboard after the final gong.