England's Tom Wood has been cleared to face Australia in the pivotal Rugby World Cup Pool A encounter after being cleared of intentionally kicking full-back Liam Williams during the second half of the 25-28 defeat to Wales at Twickenham. World Rugby has decided against citing the Northampton flanker, instead warning him over his conduct.
"Tom Wood (England) has received a Citing Commissioner Warning from Maurizio Vancini (Italy) for striking an opponent in breach of Law 10.4 (a) in the 66th minute of England's Pool A match against Wales at Twickenham on 26 September," a statement from the governing body read.
"Under the Rugby World Cup 2015 Disciplinary Programme, a Citing Commissioner Warning equates to a yellow card in sanction. A combination of three yellow cards or Citing Commissioner Warnings accumulated during the tournament will result in a hearing. Wood is therefore free to play in England's next Pool A match against Australia."
Wood, 28, took to Twitter to apologise to Williams after the later awoke from his unconsciousness caused by a kick to the head. "Really relieved to hear you're back on you're feet, ok mate. Horrible to see you stretchered off because of me. Hope you have a speedy recovery.[sic]"
Williams was stretchered off and is a doubt for Wales' remaining World Cup pool matches against Fiji and Australia, in another injury blow for Warren Gatland. There are also concerns over Scott Williams and Hallam Amos after they were taken off during the momentous victory inspired by Dan Biggar's seven successful penalties.
Meanwhile, the news regarding Wood is a timely boost for an England side standing on the precipice of becoming the first host nation to exit the World Cup at the pool stage. Stuart Lancaster's side face Australia on Saturday 3 October, knowing defeat will al but end hopes of reaching the knock-out stage, a challenge accentuated by injury worries surrounding Jonathan Joseph, Billy Vunipola, Ben Youngs, Courtney Lawes and Ben Morgan.