England flanker Tom Curry handed two-game ban for head clash at Rugby World Cup
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England flanker Tom Curry was handed a two-game ban at the Rugby World Cup on Wednesday (NZ time) following his sending-off for a dangerous tackle in the team's opening pool game against Argentina

Curry was too upright when tackling Juan Cruz Mallia as the Argentina fullback was coming down from a leaping catch in the third minute. They collided heads and referee Mathieu Raynal initially yellow-carded Curry before it was upgraded to red after a bunker review.

At a virtual disciplinary committee hearing, the panel said the offence carried a sanction of six matches which was reduced to three because of mitigating factors such as his admission of guilt, exemplary disciplinary record and apology.

Curry only has to serve a ban for the first two matches – against Japan on September 17 and Chile on September 23 – provided he completes a coaching intervention programme, which he intends to undertake. That means he would be free to play against Samoa in Lille on October 7, England's final game in Pool D.

England are already without two key players – captain Owen Farrell and No 8 Billy Vunipola – against Japan because of suspensions.

England at least have the satisfaction of knowing their defensive leader will be available for the knockout phase if, as expected, the team advances out of the pool in the wake of beating Argentina 27-10.

Curry’s ban is regarded by some as an example of the inconsistency of rugby’s disciplinary process, given South Africa centre Jesse Kriel escaped punishment for his head-on-head collision with Jack Dempsey of Scotland on Monday (NZT).

It is a cruel development for Curry. He was just three minutes into making his first appearance under coach Steve Borthwick, having recovered from hamstring and ankle injuries.