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Rugby Union: Billy Vunipola banned for three weeks after red card against Ireland

England number 8 Billy Vunipola will miss at least the start of the World Cup after receiving a three-week ban for his sending off against Ireland.

Billy Vunipola has joined Owen Farrell in being banned for the start of England's World Cup campaign.

Vunipola was sent to the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle on Andrew Porter in Saturday's 29-10 defeat in Dublin, but the offence was upgraded to a red by the bunker review system.
An independent disciplinary hearing reduced the entry-level ban of six games to three because of mitigating factors and the Saracens number eight could shave an additional match off the total if he attends tackle school.
It means he will miss Saturday's final warm-up fixture against Fiji at Twickenham and the pivotal World Cup opener against Argentina on September 9.
The decision comes the morning after Farrell was given a four-match ban for his dangerous tackle on Wales flanker Taine Basham on August 12 and is another grave setback for Steve Borthwick.
England's head coach must now plan for the opener against Argentina without his captain and talisman as well as the only specialist number eight in the squad.
Vunipola will be available for the clash with Japan in Nice on September 17 when he completes tackle school but Farrell will not be back until the final group games against Chile and Samoa.
At the video hearing held on Tuesday night, Vunipola admitted that his shoulder-led tackle that struck Porter on the head was a red card offence, triggering an automatic six-game suspension.
However, the hearing saw mitigation in his clean previous record, his immediate remorse and apology and the lack of aggravating factors, thereby resulting in a three-match reduction.
Tackle school - officially named the 'coaching intervention programme' - is allowed to be taken just once in each player's career and is intended to modify the specific techniques and technical issues that lead to illegal hits.
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