Wednesday 16 October 2019

Watch: Ryan Wilson cited for alleged eye gouge but Six Nations stay silent on tunnel incident as new footage emerges

Ryan Wilson appears to make contact with the face of Nathan Hughes during Scotland's victory over England. BBC
Ryan Wilson appears to make contact with the face of Nathan Hughes during Scotland's victory over England. BBC

Jack De Menezes

Ryan Wilson has been cited for allegedly making contact with the eye area of England forward Nathan Hughes during Scotland’s 25-13 Calcutta Cup victory on Saturday, but Six Nations officials have remained hush on any action being taken against the Scottish forward and Owen Farrell after their pre-match fracas in the Murrayfield tunnel.

Additional footage of the pre-match incident emerged on Monday that showed Farrell chasing after Wilson, grabbing the Glasgow Warriors back-row by the shoulder in order to confront him while other Scottish players attempted to restrain the England centre.

It’s believed that Farrell shoved Wilson before being pulled apart by a mixture of England and Scotland players, but the provocation behind the incident remains a mystery after both teams refused to speak about it immediately after the match.

The Rugby Football Union are understood to have told the Six Nations that Farrell was not the instigator of the conflict and was provoked after being asked to explain the incident, while the Scottish Rugby Union have also been contacted.

However, a citing was brought forward against Wilson for a separate incident that occurred during the match.

Wilson has been cited for alleged contact with the eye area of England No 8 Nathan Hughes shortly before half-time as the pair grappled off the ball. Hughes, who appeared to have his hand on his opposite number’s throat, could be seen holding down 37-year-old Wilson, who responded by grabbing the Wasps back-row by the face.

A Six Nations statement read: “Ryan Wilson, the Scotland back-row forward, has been cited for an alleged act of foul play by the independent citing commissioner appointed by World Rugby at the NatWest Six Nations match between Scotland and England on Saturday.

“The alleged offence, contact with the eye area of an opponent (Law 9.12) took place in the 37th minute of the match.

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“A disciplinary hearing will be convened before a Six Nations disciplinary committee on Wednesday.”

If found guilty, the charge carries a low-entry requirement of a four-week ban, with a mid-entry of eight weeks and top end of at least 12 weeks, but the charge is not as serious as contact with the eye, which would result in a ban of at least 12 weeks at low-entry level and a mid-level of 18 weeks. Any ban is likely to rule Wilson out of the remainder of the Six Nations though, with Scotland due to play Ireland a week on Saturday in Dublin and host Italy the following week on the final weekend of the championship on 17 March.

The Scottish players enjoyed Saturday celebrations in Edinburgh to the fullest after securing their first win over England in 10 years, with a video emerging of half-back pairing Greig Laidlaw and Finn Russell drinking together with teammates and friends while singing ‘Flower of Scotland’, with Laidlaw looking worse for wear after ripping off his shirt with his tie around his head.

England meanwhile have responded by altering their training plans in the week, partly due to head coach Eddie Jones looking at what went wrong against Scotland and partly due to the snowstorm that hit the United Kingdom on Monday.

Jones called up 27 players to his training squad, with Elliot Daly returning from injury and Kyle Sinckler also added to the 25-man squad that was retained for the weekend’s trip to Edinburgh. Daly has not played since badly injuring his ankle in December – and aggravating a similar injury on his other leg when returning to training two weeks ago – while Sinckler has been added as a third-choice tighthead prop behind Dan Cole and Harry Williams.

But in an effort to recondition the players, particularly those that have played the majority of England’s three matches so far this championship, Jones has split his squad between 19 players that will convene in Oxford on Tuesday for a training camp, and putting the eight remaining players – which includes, Cole, Mako Vunipola and Joe Launchbury – through “mini regional camps” at their respective clubs Leicester Tigers, Saracens and Wasps.

Richard Wigglesworth will join Vunipola at Saracens, while Harlequins quartet Joe Marler, Chris Robshaw, Danny Care and Mike Brown will remain at England’s main base at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot.

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