Former Saint Hooley has no hard feelings towards Francis

Piers Francis put in a hit on Will Hooley during the opening seven seconds of the game between England and the USA
Piers Francis put in a hit on Will Hooley during the opening seven seconds of the game between England and the USA

Former Saints back Will Hooley says he is glad Piers Francis did not get banned for the hit on him during the clash between England and the USA last Thursday.

Francis was cited for what was deemed a dangerous high tackle that happened just seven seconds into the game in Kobe.

The Saints centre was forced to endure a disciplinary hearing but he was not given a suspension, with the disciplinary panel feeling it was only worthy of a yellow card.

Hooley was asked whether he wanted to make a statement to the hearing but declined.

"When George Ford kicked off down the middle of the field my first thought was: ‘Good, I’m getting myself into the game early'," Hooley wrote in his Guardian column. "The next second I’m being clattered.

"The first thing to stress is that I bear absolutely no grudge towards Piers Francis. He wanted to start his World Cup with a bang and that’s literally what he did.

"When I was asked if I wanted to make a statement to his disciplinary hearing, I declined.

"It was the beginning of the game, nothing came of it and, contrary to popular belief, I don’t believe I was hit in the head.

"Trust me, you know when that happens. If anything, the contact felt like it was to my shoulder.

"I didn’t see a huge problem with it and agree with the disciplinary panel’s verdict to dismiss the citing.

"I wish Piers all the best for the rest of the tournament and am glad he’s not been banned.

"There are a lot of big hits on the field but, ultimately, everyone is a rugby player and cares for each other."