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Scotland appeal bans for Ford, Gray

2015-10-15 12:00
Ross Ford (Getty Images)

Edinburgh - Scotland confirmed on Thursday that they would appeal against the bans handed down to hooker Ross Ford and lock Jonny Gray that have ruled the duo out of Sunday's Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Australia.

The disciplinary tribunal handed the pair three-week suspensions for a dangerous tackle on Samoa's Jack Lam in their Pool B match on Saturday.

"Scottish Rugby can confirm it will appeal against the suspensions given to Ross Ford and Jonny Gray following the RWC match vs Samoa," the Scottish Rugby Union said on its official Twitter account.

The bans, which rule out the two players for the rest of the tournament should Scotland beat Australia, have been heavily criticised, with former Scotland international Kenny Logan describing them as a "sick joke".

"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," Logan said on Wednesday.

Even Australia coach Michael Cheika has expressed sympathy for the banned pair, while ex-Wales international Jonathan Davies has described 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, The Times reported on Thursday.

The paper said that Peyper, who was in charge of the game at Newcastle's St James Park, 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", the newspaper added.

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