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Billy Vunipola banned in further headache for Steve Borthwick

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Wednesday Aug 23, 2023

England number eight Billy Vunipola will join his Saracens and England teammate Owen Farrell in serving a ban that will see him miss the start of the Rugby World Cup.

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The 30-year-old has been banned for three matches for his dangerous tackle on Irish prop Andrew Porter in their Summer Nations Series match at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Vunipola’s ban possess a dilemma for England head coach Steve Borthwick who included just one specialist number eight in his World Cup squad.

The backrow, appeared before an independent judicial committee on Tuesday, August 22nd after his red card for an act of foul play contrary to Law 9.13 (A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.)

Admitting that he had committed a foul worthy of a red card and thus Committee applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point for foul play resulting in contact with the head – a six-week suspension.

His suspension was then reduced by three weeks and is eligible to be reduced by a further week should attend World Rugby’s Coaching Intervention Programme.

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