Ross Ford (Gallo)
London - Scotland duo Ross Ford and Jonny
Gray are free to play in Sunday's Rugby World Cup quarter-final against
Australia after having three week bans for a dangerous tackle overturned on
Scotland did not rule out using hooker Ford
and Gray, who has been partnering his older brother Richie in the second row,
after they were completely absolved of foul play during the 36-33 victory over
Samoa last Saturday.
Ford had been found guilty of a dangerous
tackle and Gray of a tip tackle. Their three week ban was imposed on the same
day that Argentinian Marcelo Bosch received just a week's ban for a tip tackle.
"Having conducted a detailed review of
all the evidence, including new submissions from the players and their
representatives, along with all available camera angles," read the Appeal
"The appeal committee dismissed the
finding that the players had committed an act of foul play as the player had
not been dropped or driven and therefore the tackle was not dangerous,"
read the appeals
"The players are therefore free to
play again immediately."
Neither player had been selected in Vern
Cotter's starting XV for Sunday's game and it remains to be seen whether the
Kiwi coach puts them in at this late stage.
"They are available to us and we are
considering our options," Scotland spokesman Michael James said.
Cotter had brought in Tim Swinson and
Fraser Brown for Gray and Ford respectively.
The Scotland camp was so infuriated by the
severity of the bans that their chief executive Mark Dodson raised the matter
with World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper.
"I have raised their case with Brett
Gosper at World Rugby and asked for consistency in how such incidents are
punished," said Dodson on Thursday.
"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
World Rugby issued a statement this week
insisting that all players were judged on the same criteria, no matter if they
came from tier one or tier two nations - like the Pacific Island sides like
Tonga, Samoa and Fiji, or Georgia.