Tom Curry banned for two games at Rugby World Cup in new blow for England

Tom Curry banned for two games at Rugby World Cup in new blow for England

Tom Curry has been hit with a two-match suspension but will be back for England’s final Rugby World Cup pool game in a boost to the Red Rose side.

Curry was sent off for a head-to-head collision with Juan Cruz Mallia just three minutes into England’s 27-10 victory over Argentina on Saturday.

England shook off the dismissal to dispatch the Pumas at Stade Velodrome despite the man disadvantage, and have now received the boost of a short absence to their potent Sale flanker.

Curry pleaded guilty to the charge in a virtual hearing on Tuesday afternoon, appearing before the three-strong panel from England’s training base in Le Touquet.

The committee imposed the mandatory dangerous tackle mid-range sanction of six matches, but reduced the penalty by 50 per cent.

Curry’s guilty plea and acceptance that a red card was the right outcome saw the suspension drop from six to three matches.

And if he now goes through World Rugby’s tackle school initiative, he will be able to feature in England’s final Pool D clash, against Samoa on October 7.

Curry has signalled his intent to complete the tackle school programme, which will leave him just missing Sunday’s match with Japan in Nice, and the encounter with Chile on September 23.

England have received four yellow cards in six matches, ranging from Freddie Steward’s later rescinded dismissal in Six Nations action in Dublin, to Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola’s sendings-off in World Cup warm-up matches.

Curry was in the third minute of his first match since May when he clashed heads with Mallia in Saturday’s World Cup opener.

“The player accepted that foul play occurred and that the offence warranted a red card,” read a World Rugby statement.

“The player intends to apply to take part in the World Rugby coaching intervention programme to substitute the final match of the sanction for a coaching intervention aimed at modifying specific techniques and technical issues that contributed to the foul play.”

England will be loath to lose Curry at all, especially given his lack of competitive action after an ankle injury.

But now the 25-year-old will be able to feature in the final pool encounter, at which point England will hope he can play his way to sharpness before a potential quarter-final.

There is every chance England could have played the percentages in the decision for Curry to plead guilty.

A prudent strategy would have been to accept the red card, go through tackle school and hope to receive a suspension that would still allow for his return in the competition.

Billy Vunipola can return after his own high-tackle red card this weekend to face Japan, which will offset Curry’s absence in the back-row.