Rugby World Cup

Double blow as Gray and Ford banned

Jonny FordScotland rugby hooker Ross Ford and lock Jonny Gray are out of the World Cup after being suspended for dangerous tackles in the game against Samoa.

They were both suspended for three weeks, ruling them out of Sunday’s quarter-final against Australia and the rest of the tournament should Scotland secure victory over the Wallabies.

The pair denied the charge and have 48 hours to lodge an appeal.

Further controversy surrounds the judgement which involved citing by the Australian commissioner Scott Nowland.

Ford and Gray were accused of an illegal tackle on Jack Lam during the second half of the match against the Samoans at St James’ Park, Newcastle.

Judicial officer Christopher Quinlan pointed out that rugby’s governing body had highlighted that “tackles involving a player being lifted off the ground and tipped horizontally and were then either forced or dropped to the ground … must be dealt with severely by match officials and all those involved in the disciplinary process”.

A Scotland team spokesman said: “We are disappointed by the outcome of today’s discipline hearing, and subsequent suspension of Ross Ford and Jonny Gray.

“We will consider carefully the full written judgment of Judicial Officer Christopher Quinlan QC before making a decision on any future action.”

The loss of first-choice lock Gray and Scotland’s most capped forward Ford is a huge blow to head coach Vern Cotter ahead of the last-eight clash at Twickenham.



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