Scotland to appeal against Ford, Gray suspensions

Scotland to appeal against Ford, Gray suspensions

Scotland confirmed yesterday that they would appeal against the bans that have ruled out hooker Ross Ford and lock Jonny Gray for Sunday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Australia.

World Rugby’s disciplinary tribunal handed the pair three-week suspensions for a dangerous tackle on Samoa’s Jack Lam in their Pool B match last Saturday, meaning that both players would remain sidelined even if Scotland progress beyond Sunday’s game.

After the Scottish Rugby announced its intention to appeal, chief executive Mark Dodson said: “We hold Ross and Jonny in very high regard and as a result will be launching a robust appeal to challenge their suspensions.

“I have raised their case with (CEO) Brett Gosper at World Rugby and asked for consistency in how such incidents are punished.

“It is clear other unions are also seeking better clarity on the use of citing and the interpretation of how key areas of the game are scrutinised and the subsequent levels of punishment set.”

The three-week bans have been heavily criticised, with former Scotland international Kenny Logan particularly scathing.

“This is a sick joke,” he said.

“... Two Scottish players with a perfect disciplinary record get a three-week ban for clearing out a player with no malicious intent at a ruck just because he fell awkwardly.

“There is no level playing field. This is a shameful decision.”

Even Australia coach Michael Cheika has expressed sympathy for the banned pair, while ex-Wales international Jonathan Davies has described the inconsistency of the tournament’s disciplinary hearings as a “disgrace”.

Judicial officer Christopher Quinlan, who headed the tribunal that banned the duo, ignored referee Jaco Peyper’s opinion of the incident while making his decision.

Peyper, who was in charge of the game, told the tribunal in an email that he had seen the tackle, stating: “After our internal performance review process, I am satisfied that I dealt with the incident appropriately.”

Quinlan’s written judgment dismissed Peyper’s evidence as inadmissible, citing the Tournament Disciplinary Programme (TDP) rules stating that referees and assistant referees “may only give evidence of fact, not opinion”.

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