One of the pivotal moments of the 2022 Six Nations Championship came early into England’s home fixture against Ireland, with both nations going into the match with title hopes still alive.
It was a high-pressure winner-takes-all scenario, with the match-loser to be eliminated from the title race.
However, 82 seconds into the game there was a lengthy delay as officials looked at a collision between England’s Charlie Ewels and Ireland’s James Ryan.
England was defending at the time of the tackle, and Ewels was adjudged to have led with the head into the tackle on his opponent.
With an incorrect upright body shape going into the tackle, Ewel’s head collided with Ryan’s cheek a fraction of a second before any other part of the England forward’s body hit the Irish attacking player.
It was a very thin line, but the letter of the law saw match referee Mathieu Raynal brandish a red card, leaving England to play almost the entire match a man down. Ewels’ red card was the fastest red card in championship history.
Despite a rousing home performance from England, Ireland took their chances and won the match 32-15.
A judicial committee reduced Ewel’s suspension from six weeks to three weeks, which could be reduced further to two if Ewels attends an Intervention Programme that focuses on correct technique.
The judicial committee took into consideration the exemplary disciplinary record of the player and remorse for the act.
The ban saw Ewels miss England’s final Six Nations match in France. Serving the full three weeks would lead to the Bath player missing Premiership matches against Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors as well.