Rugby Union

Joe Launchbury.

Two-try England star banned for two weeks after kick during Fiji game

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England's 58-15 win over Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday extended Eddie Jones' unbeaten run as England coach in emphatic style.

However, there is one piece of news emerging today that puts something of a dampener on the 2016 Six Nation champions' 11th straight victory.

As reported by The Guardian, Joe Launchbury will be unavailable for England's final two Autumn series fixtures after being banned for two weeks for his "reckless use of the boot" towards Fiji centre Asaeli Tikoirotuma.

The incident took place in the early stages of the second half when the England second row needlessly kicked out in a ruck and struck Tikoirotuma on the head.

Since the laws were tightened up at the beginning of the season, such incidents are usually supposed to end up with a red card being handed out to the offender - even if there is no particular intent to hurt an opponent, as appeared to be the case on Saturday.

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And, although Launchbury escaped such a punishment from referee Marius Mitrea during the game itself on Saturday, a three-man disciplinary committee have sought to rectify that with the two-week ban.

It could actually have been worse for the Wasp captain. The standard punishment for kicking out at a player on the floor is meant to be four weeks. 

England v Fiji - Old Mutual Wealth Series

However, because Launchbury accepted he was in the wrong, it was cut to two weeks. 

Still, after finishing Saturday's win with a two-try haul, it is a disappointingly premature end to the forward's Autumn series. He will miss England's upcoming tests against Argentina (November 26) and Australia (December 3).

Fortunately for Eddie Jones, Launchbury's ban coincides with the return to full fitness of fellow Saracens lock George Kruis.

Saracens v Leicester Tigers - Aviva Premiership

All things going well, Kruis - who hasn't played for England since the summer tour of Australia - will replace Launchbury in the forward pack and slot in alongside Courtney Lawes.

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Topics:
Jonny Wilkinson
England Rugby
Six Nations
Rugby Union
Australia Rugby
IRB Rugby World Cup
Danny Cipriani

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