Rugby league: One-match ban puts Sam Burgess out of England side to face Ireland
ENGLAND will be without Sam Burgess for Saturday's World Cup group game against Ireland after he was given a one-match ban for a high tackle during his side's opening 28-20 defeat by Australia.
The South Sydney forward was put on report by referee Henry Perenara for the 63rd-minute challenge on Brisbane second rower Sam Thaiday which left his opponent concussed.
A specially-convened international match review panel charged Burgess with a grade A offence and handed down the suspension.
England have until 11am tomorrow to accept the sanction or to send Burgess to face an international disciplinary tribunal at the Rugby Football League's headquarters at Red Hall, Leeds, later in the evening.
Coach Steve McNamara could opt to give his star forward the week off, knowing he has Canterbury Bulldogs front rower James Graham ready to take his place for the match against Ireland at Huddersfield's John Smith's Stadium.
Graham was left out McNamara's team for last Saturday's game at Wembley without explanation, although it was thought to be due to a breach of team discipline.
The former St Helens favourite, who captained England on their 2010 Four Nations campaign down under, is believed to have been among the players who broke an alcohol ban in the aftermath of the team's embarrassing defeat to Italy nine days ago.
England, who were due to go back into camp at Loughborough University this evening, could have also Wigan loose forward Sean O'Loughlin back to take Burgess' place.
The Wigan skipper sat out the games against Italy and Australia to nurses an Achilles injury which disrupted the end of his Super League season but he is nearing a return to full fitness.
"I'd have loved to have played against Australia but I just wasn't right," O'Loughlin told www.wigantoday.net. "I was a bit sore, I've not done much with the boys for the last week or two, but it's probably been the best it's been now so I'll get into it this week.
"If I'd played, I might have been out for a couple of weeks after. Hopefully there are another five games to go and it's more about getting to a point where I can get involved and stay involved.
"I hope that's the next game, I'll do a full week with the boys and hopefully get selected."
Burgess was making his first England appearance for three years on Saturday and created history as he lined up alongside twins Tom and George to become the first set of three brothers to play for England.
Meanwhile, Wakefield hooker Paul Aiton will miss Papua New Guinea's group B game against Samoa at Hull KR next Monday after also being given a one-match ban.
He was found guilty by the same panel of a grade A high tackle on full-back Morgan Escare in the 76th minute of the Kumuls' 9-8 defeat by France at Craven Park on Sunday.
He, too, has until tomorrow morning to contest the punishment.