England's Ellis Genge enraged by Steward red card in Ireland defeat
Steward's red was a decisive moment in Ireland's Grand Slam victory.
England full back Freddie Steward was sent off by referee Jaco Peyper on the stroke of half time on Saturday, as a much-improved England side made Ireland sweat in the opening 40.
Colliding with Ireland and Leinster full back Hugo Keenan, Steward's elbow made contact with the head of the Irish player, in an incident that referee Jaco Peyper described a definite red "in the this climate".
However, despite the assuredness with which the South African official delivered his verdict, many, including England captain Owen Farrell, felt the decision was unfair given the speed at which it occurred.
Speaking to the media in the wake of Steve Borthwick's side's third defeat of the tournament, England prop Ellis Genge echoed the sentiments of his captain.
"I think we all agree about the red card. We play a contact sport", said the Bristol Bears loosehead, before adding "there was absolutely no malice in what Freddie did — no malice whatsoever".
Giving his take on the collision, Genge stated that "he's (Steward) actually tried to pull out and not hurt the bloke so it was a complete and total accident for me and I don't think he can be punished like that".
The red card came at a crucial point in the game, with the visitors trailing Andy Farrell's side just a score heading into the interval.
Reflecting on that impressive first half display, Genge remarked "Well, we just stuck with the best team in the world for 40-odd minutes with 14 men. I'm really proud of the boys".
England's showing was all the more noteworthy to the 28-year-old in the wake of last weekend's record defeat at the hands of Fabien Galthié's free-flowing French side at Twickenham.
"We got a few belly shots last week from outside the camp; people taking a few digs at us and questioning whether or not we are up to scratch", said Genge.
Despite the 48-time-capped prop's insistence that Steward was unduly shown a red card, he did however succeed in admitting that he is biased when it comes to judging the incident.
"There's a lot of stuff going on about head trauma at the moment, so I get it to a certain extent. For me, it's not a red but I'm not going to make an excuse because I think we had an opportunity to win", the former Premiership winner declared.
England will now look to regroup after a testing Six Nations period, as to seek to take advantage of a favourable World Cup pool draw in the autumn which sees them avoid any of the world's top seven ranked nations.
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