Owen Farrell England takes on Scotland in Six Nations Opener 2023

Despite a four-week ban for a dangerous tackle, England captain Owen Farrell will be available for their Six Nations opener against Scotland.

If he completes the World Rugby coaching intervention programme, his ban will be reduced to three weeks.

As a result, he would be eligible for selection by Steve Borthwick for England’s match against Scotland on 4 February.

On Friday, Farrell made contact with Gloucester forward Jack Clement’s head with his shoulder.

Saracens’ European games against Lyon and Edinburgh, as well as their trip to Bristol, will be missed by the 31-year-old.

The final week of his ban will not apply if he completes the necessary intervention program.

Due to injuries to Marcus Smith and George Ford, new England head coach Steve Borthwick has some relief.

As a starting point, Farrell received a six-week ban for the offence – which he admitted to.

As a result of his early admission of the charge and “exemplary” conduct during the hearing, he received two weeks of mitigation.

Despite the fact that the player believed he had struck his opponent’s chest, the footage confirms that he was incorrect, according to Farrell’s disciplinary report.

In making our decision, we have taken into account that the opposition player was not injured.

However, we do not think that this affects our conclusion that a high degree of danger exists.

Farrell has been banned for a dangerous tackle twice in less than two-and-a-half years.

In September 2020, he was suspended for five weeks after a dangerous tackle on Charlie Atkinson against Wasps – the offence was deemed severe enough to warrant a 10-week suspension.

‘Not as simple as it sounds’ – Analysis

Reporter for BBC Radio 5 Live & BBC Sport on rugby, Sara Orchard

There is a grey area surrounding the Farrell ban, which is the “third game” he will miss after completing his tackle course.

He would normally not play the weekend before the Six Nations if he were named in Steve Borthwick’s England squad on Monday.

Players return to their clubs the weekend before the tournament only if the coaches believe they need game time.

Farrell is technically banned if he is released to Saracens for the “third game” against Bristol in the Premiership.

The judgment clearly states that his ban has to be for “meaningful” games.

Due to Farrell’s ineligibility for the England squad, the Saracens game against Bristol is arguably meaningless to him.

Hence, if he is named in the squad, the third game should be England v Scotland.

Borthwick will ultimately face all the pressure when he names his first England squad for the Six Nations on Monday 16 January.

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