Rugby World Cup: England flanker Tom Curry cops two-game ban for red card against Argentina

  • 13/09/2023
Tom Curry.
Tom Curry. Photo credit: Getty Images

England flanker Tom Curry has been handed an effective two-game suspension and will miss the Rugby World Cup Pool D matches against Japan and Chile following his red card inside three minutes against Argentina on Sunday (NZ time).

Curry clashed heads with Argentina fullback Juan Cruz Mallia as he attempted to make a tackle from an upright position and was initially given a yellow card by referee Mathieu Raynal, which was upgraded to red after a bunker review.

The 25-year-old attended an Independent Disciplinary Committee hearing in Paris and was handed a three-match ban, though he will be free to face Samoa on October 8 if he completes a coaching intervention programme - World Rugby's "tackle school" - which he says he plans to do.

Tom Curry of England makes a dangerous tackle on Juan Cruz Mallia of Argentina resulting in a red card.
Tom Curry of England makes a dangerous tackle on Juan Cruz Mallia of Argentina resulting in a red card. Photo credit: Getty Images

World Rugby said: "The player accepted that foul play occurred and that the offence warranted a red card. The committee noted that the offence carries a mandatory minimum mid-range sanction (six matches), and having considered the mitigating factors, including admission of foul play and correctness of the red card at the first opportunity, an exemplary disciplinary record, apology to the player and good character, reduced the sanction by the maximum mitigation of 50 per cent."

England are already without captain Owen Farrell and No. 8 Billy Vunipola for the Japan game as they serve out the final game of their suspensions.

Curry's was their fourth red in six matches, though Freddie Steward's against Ireland in the Six Nations was rescinded.

Farrell and Vunipola were both punished for "shoulder to head" collisions while Curry, who was playing his first rugby since May after a series of injuries, was the latest to fall foul of the sport's crackdown on upright tackles, which they say lead to a high number of concussions.

Many fans and pundits claimed that other similar tackles over the weekend had gone unpunished, but that was never likely to be part of Curry's defence.

England assistant coach Richard Wigglesworth said the red card was the result of a "fast-moving game."

"It is an evasion sport where collisions happen, accidents happen, it's a fast-moving game with incredible athletes, so it gives you some insight into what may or may not have happened on the field," said Wigglesworth.

"You will appreciate I can't elaborate on my thoughts on our head knock or any others. I can't comment on our frustration or anyone else's."