Tuesday 22 October 2019

Murrayfield tunnel footage suggests Owen Farrell defended George Ford

Owen Farrell and George Ford of England dejected after defeat
Owen Farrell and George Ford of England dejected after defeat

Mick Cleary

Footage of the pre-match skirmish in the Murrayfield tunnel has emerged showing England centre Owen Farrell jostling Scotland forward Ryan Wilson as he runs to intervene between Wilson and England fly-half George Ford.

It is understood words had been directed towards Ford by Wilson as they walked side by side up the tunnel before kick-off, and that Farrell was coming to his team-mate's defence. In a separate development, Wilson was last night cited for allegedly making contact with the eye area of Nathan Hughes and will face a disciplinary hearing.

The new tunnel footage has been posted on social media but cuts out as Farrell barges through following the team warm-up. England scrum-half Danny Care admitted afterwards that the spark between Farrell and Wilson had "fired up the boys even more", although head coach Eddie Jones said he was unaware of the incident. "If there was (an incident), we shouldn't let that detract from a great Scotland victory," Jones said after the game.


The NatWest Six Nations committee is to write to both the Rugby Football Union and the Scottish Rugby Union, requesting their version of events and to ask of any issues they wanted to raise. That process is continuing and neither union would comment. The RFU management team will be reviewing the situation after taking eyewitness accounts.

It was believed in the aftermath that Farrell had been provoked, but this new evidence suggests that he was protecting his team-mate.

Match referee Nigel Owens has no direct jurisdiction prior to kick-off, although he can comment in his match report. Six Nations organisers may have to review protocols for teams entering and leaving the field during the warm-up period.

Farrell will join fit-again Wasps wing Elliot Daly in a 27-man training squad named by England yesterday for a camp in the next few days as they prepare to face France. Harlequins tighthead Kyle Sinckler, who withdrew from the pre-Six Nations camp with a hamstring strain, has also been recalled to provide competition for Exeter's Harry Williams, who has been the replacement tighthead in all three matches for England so far behind established starter Dan Cole. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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