Freddie Steward red card: Ben Stokes and other celebrities react to Ireland’s red card against England Six Nations

Ben Stokes was among celebrities to react to a controversial red card during the Grand Slam playoff between Ireland and England in Saturday’s Six Nations Rugby Grand Slam.

Ireland went into the game in Dublin as heavy favorites to seal a Grand Slam, awarded for winning all five games during a Six Nations campaign, against an English side who had defeated France at Twickenham just seven days earlier had suffered an historic humiliation, being beaten 53-10 in their biggest home defeat of all time.

But England had started strongly at the Aviva Stadium, a much-improved performance that saw them trail just 10-6 towards the end of the first half. However, their task became much more difficult when star full-back Freddie Steward was shown a tough red card.

In the 40th minute, Ireland’s Hugo Keenan uncomfortably collided with Steward’s elbow as he bent down to try to catch a fallen ball. Steward had turned to prepare for Keenan, who was in an unnatural position with the whistle and accidentally touched his head. Referee Jaco Peyper argued that the Englishman had a duty of care towards his opponent and should have done more to avoid contact, resulting in a red card that stunned England’s players.

Twitter immediately responded to the decision, with a number of famous faces speaking out and England cricket captain Ben Stokes was one of them, tweeting: “Red card???????????? shards shards shards. Rugby will be ruined.”

Stokes then followed up with a second tweet, saying: “Anyone trying to defend that red card decision at half-time is just trying to take care of themselves.”

England propsman Joe Marler, who was not selected for the squad during those Six Nations, echoed this disbelief.

He wrote: “Ridiculous. Completely ridiculous. In fact, it’s completely and utterly b****ks.”

Ex-England flies half Andy Goode added: “Terrible call from Jaco Peyper this is a rugby incident never red card for steward.”

Welsh comedian Mike Bubbins also weighed, said: “This is really incredibly hard for Freddie Steward. I’m a big proponent of making the game safer, but I don’t see what else he could do. He was one of England’s best players #SixNations to.”

Former Scotland international and current rugby pundit Jim Hamilton said: “Absolutely wrong. So wrong. This is ‘a rugby incident’ #IREvENG”

Another former England international, Ben Foden, also backs the near-universal claims suggesting the decision was wrong.

foden tweeted: “Anyone who thinks that was a red card has never played rugby. If Steward hadn’t retired, it would have been a lot worse for Keenan. Yellow at worst. A forward pass, bouncing ball and deciding in a split second which steward did the right thing and pulled out. “ Freddie Steward red card: Ben Stokes and other celebrities react to Ireland’s red card against England Six Nations

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