England captain Owen Farrell receives ban over illegal tackle

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

England rugby captain Owen Farrell has been handed a five-match ban for an illegal tackle during Saracens' defeat at the hands of Wasps on Saturday.

Farrell, 28, received a red card when he produced a high and reckless challenge on Wasps teenager Charlie Atkinson after the hour mark.

Farrell was visibly upset and apologised to Atkinson who was unable to finish the match.

The fly-half will miss his team's next two Gallagher Premiership matches as well as the Champions Cup quarterfinal against Leinster later this month.

After a four-hour hearing on Tuesday, Independent panel chair Mike Hamlin said: "This was a totally unacceptable contact with the neck/head of Charlie Atkinson as a result of a reckless tackle which had the consequences of him being knocked unconscious and sustaining a concussion.

"This resulted in the panel concluding that this was a top end offence with an entry point of 10 matches. There were no aggravating features.

"Testimonials provided by Mark McCall, Eddie Jones and the founders of a charity with which the player works very closely were of the highest quality.

"The panel concluded that applying the off-field mitigating factors, notwithstanding his suspension four and a half years ago, the player was entitled to a reduction from 10 matches to five meaningful matches. The player is free to play again on 5 October."

Saracens were relegated to the second tier for salary cap breaches but are still on course to lift the European trophy for a second consecutive season.

After the match, Saracens director Mark McCall spoke to reporters and said: "Obviously Owen got the tackle wrong, there's no question about that. He's been into the club and I've spoken to him.

"You could see from his reaction as soon as it happened that he knew he got it wrong and he is incredibly regretful.

"He stood on the touchline and waited for Charlie to get up and come off and he was really concerned for him. You could see on his face how he felt."

(Information from Reuters was used in this report.)