World Cup: McGillvray ‘bite’ allegation puts dampener on England’s victory

Jermaine McGillvray
Jermaine McGillvray
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England are facing an anxious wait to discover if winger Jermaine McGillvary will be charged over an alleged bite on Lebanon captain Robbie Farah.

Farah raised the complaint to Wakefield referee Ben Thaler two minutes into the second half of England’s 29-10 win over the Cedars at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday after he was involved in a tackle on the Huddersfield man.

Alex Walmsley

Alex Walmsley

Thaler did not penalise McGillvary but placed the incident on report and it will now go before the tournament match-review panel on today.

“Things happen in a split second on the field and you react,” said Farah. “I made a complaint on the field and I’ll leave it at that.

“I don’t think I need to say much else. There is a bit of footage there. It’s pretty clear for everyone to see what happened on the replay.”

England imposed a media ban on McGillvary immediately after the match and head coach Wayne Bennett commented little on the incident in the post-match press conference.

To finally get out there and put the shirt on was a huge honour. It was a very proud moment in my career. I’ve been close on occasions before and at one point last week I thought I was never going to make it.

England’s Alex Walmsley

“It’s a bit hard for me to make a comment,” said Bennett. “I have no more information than you’ve got. From where I’m sitting I can’t tell you whether he bit him or not.”

England, who moved on to Perth yesterday to set up camp ahead of their final group game against France, will be desperate to retain the services of McGillvary, who has one of the leading lights in their campaign so far.

One of only two specialist wingers in Bennett’s 24-man squad, he was given the players’ man of the match after scoring England’s only points in the 18-4 defeat by Australia in Melbourne and got another try against Lebanon to take his total to seven in eight appearances.

It is the second biting allegation of the World Cup. Wales prop Ben Evans made the accusation against Papu New Guinea’s Wellington Albert during the first weekend but the case was not proven.

The RLWC2017 match review panel, which consists of chairman Michael Buettner and panelists Ben Ross and Michael Hodgson, will meet this morning to discuss the incident and will issue any charge by 5pm.

The player would have until noon on Tuesday to make a plea and any disciplinary hearing would be held from 6pm on Wednesday via a video link to NRL headquarters in Moore Park, Sydney.

Cases are heard by a three-man panel, chaired by either the Honorable Justice Geoff Bellew or his deputy, magistrate Robert Abood, and two members from a list that includes former Great Britain international Barrie-Jon Mather and ex-Super League players Tony Puletua and Bob Lindner.

Any ban will be served in the tournament and can be carried over into the player’s domestic competition.

Alex Walmsley is determined to push on in the World Cup after completing his recovery from a debilitating illness to make his England debut.

The St Helens prop has revealed how he spent three days on a drip after being felled by a mystery virus and is still striving to put the weight back on that he lost in the build-up to the opening game of the tournament against Australia.

Former Batley Bulldogs forward Walmsley was forced to miss that clash in Sydney but recovered sufficiently to win his first cap in the win over Lebanon.

“To finally get out there and put the shirt on was a huge honour,” he said. “It was a very proud moment in my career.

“I’ve been close on occasions before and at one point last week I thought I was never going to make it. It was a really tough illness and it knocked me for six. I was struggling for a good week and finding myself on a drip for three days wasn’t ideal leading into a World Cup.

“I’m still working to put the weight back on but the doc has done a great job with me, getting me back fit and this game was important for me to build on, getting a few minutes under my belt and hopefully I can continue to do that next week against France and build for the rest of the tournament.”

Speaking about the win over Lebanon, Dewsbury-born Walmsley said: “There were aspects where we were good I think,” said Walmsley.

“There was a lot of energy, a lot of effort, in our defence in particular.

“I think for the vast majority of the game we defended really well. We were a bit scratchy with the ball so there’s something to work on there but I think the main objective was getting the win, which we did. We completed in that sense but there’s also lots to build on.”

Bennett was pleased with the debut of Walmsley, who ran 135 metres and made six tackles and is looking to make bigger contributions throughout the rest of the tournament.

“I was happy with how it went personally,” he said. “There were no errors. It was important to put in a strong start, especially coming off the back of a bit of illness.

“I’m happy to do whatever Wayne wants me to do.”