England will be without flanker Tom Curry for their next two Rugby World Cup matches following his red card against Argentina, it was announced on Tuesday.
Curry was issued with a three-match ban for the red card he picked up in England’s 27-10 win over Argentina in their World Cup opener on Saturday, but this will be reduced to a two-match suspension on completion of World Rugby’s coaching intervention programme, known as “tackle school.”
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Curry was sent from the field in just the third minute of Saturday’s match. He was originally shown a yellow card after he made head-on-head contact with Argentina fullback Jean Cruz Mallia. It was then upgraded to a red card using the bunker review system.
Despite the red card and England playing 77 minutes with 14 men, Steve Borthwick’s side opened their World Cup campaign with an impressive win over Argentina.
But the news of Curry’s suspension will come as a blow for England. He will now sit out their next two pool stage matches against Japan and Chile. He should then return for their final pool stage match against Samoa if he completes the World Rugby course.
The World Rugby statement read: “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%.”
Curry’s red card was England’s fourth in their last six matches and it’s a problem defence coach Kevin Sinfield is mindful of.
“It is clearly more difficult to defend with 14 men on the field,” Sinfield said.
“We have had to do that four times out of the last six. I thought we handled it really well [against Argentina], but I don’t want us to keep handling that. None of us do. We are a better team with 15 on the field. We will continue to do the work that we have been doing.”