Owen Farrell will now miss England's crucial Rugby World Cup pool matches against Argentina and Japan after he was given a four-match ban.

The former Harpenden St George's pupil, and Harpenden Rugby Club junior, was handed the suspension by an appeal committee for his dangerous tackle against Wales.

He had been yellow carded at the time, and that had been upgraded to red by the bunker review system.
However, when that was later downgraded, World Rugby appealed.

And the appeal committee found that the original hearing had not considered Farrell’s failure to wrap when attempting the tackle.

Based on that, it was decided to hear the case afresh, with the decision being the sending-off was the right outcome because the hit on Basham was "always illegal".

Farrell will also miss the warm-up games against Ireland and Fiji before returning for the games with Chile and Samoa.

Fellow ex-Georgian, George Ford, is expected to start at fly-half against Argentina and Japan with Marcus Smith offering cover from the bench.

Steve Borthwick’s plans have also been hit by the suspension of Billy Vunipola after he was sent off for a dangerous tackle in the loss to Ireland.

Farrell's Saracens team-mate will also miss the game with Argentina but could be available for the Japan match if he attends the naughty boys tackle school.

St Albans School pupils shine for England U18s

England U18s ended their South African tour with a defeat to the Rainbow Nation - but there was still valuable experience gained by the squad and their St Albans contingent.

The squad had a trio of pupils from St Albans School - Charlie West, Jack Bracken and Tayo Adegbemile - with the first two both starting and the latter on the bench in the 33-19 loss.

There had only been two points between the sides at the break but it was one-way traffic in the second period as the hosts, and outside centre Gino Cupido in particular, inflicting plenty of damage. 

Skipper Kepueli Tuipulotu feels his team can develop further and quicker after the 10-day tour.

He said: "It was tough outing but the fellas stuck at it. I said after the France game that you win some and you lose some, it’s how you adapt and how you level up from this loss.

"That’s been a key fact throughout our camps, to get better and better every single game. 

"You take your medicine and you learn from your experience. It’s good to have this kind of experience to build on.

"It was a great test for us in the white jersey and the boys in the green so it did feel like a test match out there."

England return home with two wins, beating France 41-0 and then Western Province 76-15, a match in which Bracken bagged a hat-trick and West one.

First pre-season game for Old Albanian

Old Albanian opened their pre-season work with a 52-31 loss at home to Bishop's Stortford.

It was a comfortable success for the east Herts club, who play one level higher than OAs, but they were made to work for it.

Stortford got out the blocks first and found themselves 12-0 up after 15 minutes thanks to two tries, both through their forwards.

But the hosts soon levelled with scores from Alex Ricci and Kemp Price, both finishing off good handling moves and accurate passing.

Austin Price went over to restore Stortford's lead and with Connor Lloyd converting, they held a 19-12 lead at the break.

Josh Stannard extended the advantage 15 minutes into the second period with Gabriel Sereki adding the extras, but back-to-back tries from Bailey Thomas and Hayden Barnes kept Albanian in the contest.

Ultimately superior fitness allowed the visitors to pull clear in the closing stages but the Woollams faithful did get to cheer the final try of the day, centre Jarryd Sage crossing the line.