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England lock Lawes cited for knee on Ledesma

Updated: September 12, 2011, 02:45


QUEENSTOWN, England(AP) England lock Courtney Lawes will face a disciplinary hearing in Auckland on Tuesday after being cited for allegedly striking Argentina hooker Mario Ledesma with his knee in the World Cup Pool B match on the weekend.

Tournament organizers said Monday that the 22-year-old Lawes was cited by match disciplinary commissioner Murray Whyte for the first-half challenge and will appear at a hearing chaired by independent judicial officer Terry Willis, an Australian.

"We have received notification of Courtney's citing,'' England team manager Martin Johnson said. "We will of course provide Rugby World Cup with any information required and attend the hearing as requested.''

England's Rugby Football Union said it will not comment further on the case until after the hearing, which will take place at Auckland's Vero Centre at 2 p.m. local time (0200 GMT).

If Lawes is suspended, that would open a secondrow berth to Tom Palmer or the veteran Simon Shaw.

The hearing venue in the northeast of New Zealand is inconvenient to England since the team is based on the South Island for its first three matches in Dunedin. England is not due to visit the North Island again until Sept. 25, when it flies to Auckland for its last first-round match against Scotland at Eden Park.

The team received news of the citing while on a five-day stay in the alpine resort of Queenstown, where the players are preparing for Sunday's second Pool B match against Georgia.

England rallied from 9-3 down to beat the Pumas 13-9 in Dunedin last Saturday in a match mostly defined by its physicality.

The powerful Argentina forwards wrung a succession of penalties from England but the Pumas lost captain Felipe Contepomi and center Gonzalo Tiesi to injuries, the latter sustaining suspected knee ligament damage when he was hit by Lawes after kicking the ball.

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