Owen Farrell is in danger of missing the start of England’s Six Nations campaign after being cited for a dangerous tackle in Saracens’ victory over Gloucester on Friday.
Farrell must face a disciplinary panel on Tuesday after his shoulder made contact with the head of replacement Jack Clement in the 75th minute of the Gallagher Premiership clash at Kingsholm.
England open their Six Nations against Scotland on February 4 and a ban could see the 31-year-old playmaker ruled out of Steve Borthwick’s first match in charge.
A communication mix-up between referee Karl Dickson and TMO Claire Hodnett meant the challenge was not reviewed on the field, but citing commissioner James Hall has deemed it to be worthy of a red card, thereby triggering disciplinary proceedings.
The sanction for a mid-range offence is a six-week ban but if it is deemed to be at the higher end of severity, a player can be suspended for 10 weeks.
Farrell’s tackle technique has been a frequent achilles heel and should the citing be upheld, it will be the third time Farrell has been punished for the same offence.
The three-time Lions tourist was banned for five weeks for a high tackle on Wasps player Charlie Atkinson in 2020, but the sanction was reduced from 10 weeks on account of off-field mitigating factors.
In 2016 he was suspended for two weeks for an illegal challenge on Wasps’ Dan Robson during a Champions Cup semi-final.
Given his track record for dangerous tackles, on this occasional he would be unlikely to receive any mitigation that might reduce the length of any ban.