Former Scotland Wing Labels Jonny Gray & Ross Ford’s 3 Week Bans A ‘Sick Joke’
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The three-week bans handed to Ross Ford and Jonny Gray ahead of Scotland’s Rugby World Cup quarterfinal with Australia have been branded a “sick joke”, unfair and inconsistent by former Scotland internationals Kenny Logan and Peter Wright.
Ford and Gray were banned for a clearout of Jack Lam at a ruck in the second half of the Pool B victory over Samoa, a victory which secured Scotland’s place in the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time since 2007.
The pair were cited by Australian citing commissioner Scott Nowlandover the incident and, late on Tuesday, found guilty of a dangerous tackle, in line with World Rugby’s focus on reducing the risk of head and neck injuries.
The initial five-week ban was reduced to three on the grounds of mitigating circumstances, but Scottish Rugby expressed its disappointment at the decision and reserved the 48-hour right to appeal after reviewing the full judgement.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Logan contrasted the bans for hooker Ford and lock Gray to the one-week suspension handed to Ireland flanker Sean O’Brien for punching a French opponent and the yellow card shown to David Pocock for a knee in the back of Wales hooker Scott Baldwin.
“This is a sick joke. Pocock clearly knees Baldwin in the back but gets off with a slap on the wrist, and Ireland’s Sean O’Brien gets a week ban after a punch on Pascal Pape in full sight of the referee,” said Logan, who played 70 Tests on the wing for Scotland.
“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.”
Australia coach Michael Cheika said he had not seen the incident but had some sympathy for the Scottish duo.
“I feel for them,” Cheika told reporters. “It’s the World Cup, you have worked hard for it and when you get to possibly three finals to play, you miss out.
“The same happened to Michael Hooper last week. His grandparents came over to watch him play last weekend and he was suspended. I know it’s a little thing but it’s important. You feel for the players.”
Source: ESPN Scrum