Rugby World Cup: England’s Piers Francis cited for high tackle

Piers Francis (right) tackled Will Hooley in the early stages of England’s match against the USA on Thursday

England back Piers Francis has been cited for a tackle on United States full-back Will Hooley.

Francis, who will appear before a disciplinary panel in Tokyo, made the tackle early in Thursday’s Rugby World Cup match, which England won 45-7.

US flanker John Quill was sent off for a high tackle on Owen Farrell late in the match.

Australia’s Reece Hodge and Rey Lee-Lo of Samoa both received three-match bans after being cited for high tackles.

High tackles are under heavy scrutiny at the World Cup, after World Rugby introduced new guidance to reduce head injuries.

The high-tackle framework was announced after a World Rugby study found tacklers were four times as likely to sustain a head injury if their tackle was high.

England attack coach Scott Wisemantel said the new rules make “perfect sense” – and the coaching staff were aiming to replicate game intensity in training in order to adapt.

“It’s for the players’ protection,” said Wisemantel. “So we’ve just got to abide by that and then train it.

“The first thing is that the players are aware of the new regulations. The second part is, technique-wise, we train to avoid any sort of mishaps.

“The actual technique we use with [defence coach] John Mitchell mitigates a lot of those risks.”

Quill became the first US player to be sent off at a Rugby World Cup for his dangerous tackle on Farrell in Kobe and has been banned for three weeks.

Regarding Farrell, Wisemantel added: “He’s fine, and after the game he acknowledged it was an accident on John’s behalf. He’s gone in to bat for him.”

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