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Possible rewording: Alfie Barbeary faces a potential ban that could affect his availability for the start of England's Six Nations tournament.
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Possible rewording: Alfie Barbeary faces a potential ban that could affect his availability for the start of England’s Six Nations tournament.

Alfie Barbeary may have to serve a suspension, which could prevent him from participating in the beginning of England’s Six Nations tournament. This poses a challenge for Steve Borthwick as he finalizes his squad. To make matters worse, Exeter’s Greg Fisilau, also a promising No 8 player, has also been cited and may potentially face a suspension.

The uncapped Barbeary starred in Bath’s fine Champions Cup victory against Racing 92 on Sunday despite picking up two yellow cards, leading to his sending off late in the game. The 23-year-old former Wasps back-rower was on Monday cited separately for both incidents and could pick up two suspensions at his hearing on Wednesday. Fisilau, meanwhile, escaped with a yellow card for his part in a head-on-head collision with Duncan Weir but he too has been summoned to a disciplinary hearing later on Tuesday.

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In the sixth minute of the match, Barbeary received his first yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Max Spring. He then received his second yellow card with five minutes remaining for striking Nolann Le Garrec with his forearm. Both incidents involved contact with the head or neck, which means Barbeary could face a six-week ban. In order to be eligible for the start of the Six Nations, Barbeary would need to be cleared of both offences. Even if the complaints are dismissed, the decision to give him a red card would still be considered. The potential silver lining is that if he were to receive two bans, they would likely run concurrently, similar to what happened with Toulouse’s Thomas Ramos last season when he had two incidents against Sale.

If Barbeary were to be banned, it would negatively impact Borthwick, who is set to announce his England team for the Six Nations on Wednesday. The head coach is already planning to have a different back row for the opening match against Italy on February 3rd due to Curry’s injury and Lawes’ retirement from international play. Barbeary, who has been performing well this season, is exactly the type of energetic player that can inject energy into the team.

Eddie Jones had his sights on Barbeary while he was playing as a hooker, but has faced numerous injuries whenever the opportunity for an England cap arose. Fisilau, who also had to leave Wasps due to the club’s financial struggles, has also impressed with his performances for Exeter and received special recognition from Borthwick this month.

Source: theguardian.com