Saints flanker Tom Wood has been cleared to play for England against Australia on Saturday after being warned, and not cited, for striking Wales full-back Liam Williams.
Williams’ evening was ended in the 67th minute when he was struck on the head by Wood’s shin as the Northampton forward attempted to kick a loose ball towards the Welsh line.
The match citing commissioner, Maurizio Vancini, has issued a warning that equates to a yellow card in sanction, clearing Wood to face the Wallabies at Twickenham.
Williams received several minutes of treatment before being driven from the pitch on the medical cart and is a doubt for Thursday’s clash with Fiji, although the initial signs are that he is making encouraging progress from the concussion he sustained.
England will be relieved to have their first-choice blindside flanker available to face the Wallabies, knowing that only victory will be enough to save their World Cup following the 28-25 defeat by Wales.
“Under the Rugby World Cup 2015 disciplinary programme, a citing commissioner warning equates to a yellow card in sanction,” read a statement released by tournament organisers.
“A combination of three yellow cards or citing commissioner warnings accumulated during the tournament will result in a hearing. Wood is therefore free to play in England’s next Pool A match against Australia.”
Wood, who has no disciplinary record to speak of, expressed his remorse over the incident while insisting the action was reckless and not deliberate. It is a view that appears to have been shared by the citing commissioner.
“The outcome was not something I intended obviously. It’s something I’m not proud of, but there was no intent there,” Wood said.
“Would I have done anything differently? Probably not because the ball was bouncing at my feet and I was at full tilt looking for the ball. It was unfortunate I caught him sweet with the shin.
“It’s hard to watch when someone is in that condition on the floor. We all take our turn at that. I’m sorry for the outcome 100 per cent. I’m told he’s on his feet and moving around as normal which is quite a relief.
“He was in the shower when I went into Wales’ changing room, but I caught up with a few of their players and they assured me he was on his feet and feeling better and moving around OK.
“That’s a huge relief because there’s an element of guilt there. It wasn’t intentional and I hate to see a player leave the field that way.”
Meanwhile, Wood’s Saints’ team-mate Courtney Lawes is rated as 50/50 to face the Aussies.
Lawes was forced off at half-time at Twickenham on Saturday after sustaining a leg injury.