England captain George Williams has been unsuccessful in his appeal against a two-game ban, and he will now miss the majority of this autumn’s test series against Tonga.
As tipped to do so last night by Love Rugby League, national team boss Shaun Wane took the gamble and named the Warrington Wolves star in his 24-man squad this morning, hopeful of success in tonight’s appeal.
A statement released on the Rugby Football League website this evening however confirmed that the appeal was rejected, with no reduction in the ban, and Williams to miss two of the three-game series against Kristian Woolf’s side, only able to return for the third and final game on November 4 at Headingley.
Williams was first banned for one game by the Match Review Panel following Warrington’s play-off exit, picking it up for a shoulder charge in their defeat at St Helens. His initial appeal against that decision was deemed frivolous, which in turn saw the ban doubled, and that’s how it remains.
England captain George Williams remains banned for two games, will miss majority of test series against Tonga
The RFL’s statement read: “After Warrington Wolves appealed the decision of the independent Operational Rules Tribunal on October 10, that George Williams should be suspended for two matches – one match for a Grade B shoulder charge in the Betfred Super League Semi Final at St Helens on September 30, and an additional match for a challenge of the grading which was deemed frivolous by the Tribunal – a new three-person On-Field Operational Rules Appeals Tribunal was convened.
“The appeal was rejected, so the punishment stands – meaning Williams is ineligible for the first two Tests of England’s three-match series against Tonga.”
Wane’s side take on ‘Mate Ma’a Tonga’ this Sunday (October 22) in St Helens, with Williams sidelined for that game and the second at Huddersfield Giants’ John Smith’s Stadium the following Saturday (October 28). If selected, he will return at Headingley for the Three Lions, as noted above.
This will be the first time since 2006 that England take on Tonga on home soil. Woolf’s side reached the quarter-finals in last year’s World Cup, knocked out by Samoa.