Rugby World Cup 2015: Ross Ford and Jonny Gray banned

Jonny Gray and Ross Ford in action for Scotland against Samoa
Jonny Gray and Ross Ford are key players for Scotland

Scotland forwards Ross Ford and Jonny Gray will miss the rest of the World Cup after being suspended for dangerous tackles against Samoa.

A three-week suspension rules them out of Sunday's quarter-final against Australia and the semi-final and final should the Scots progress.

Both players had denied committing an act of foul play, while a team spokesman said they were "disappointed by the outcome".

The players have 48 hours to appeal.

Scotland say they "will consider carefully the full written judgement before making a decision".

Details of the specific incidents have yet to be made clear publicly. But Australian citing commissioner Scott Nowland had accused hooker Ford of breaching rules on dangerous tackles, while lock Gray was alleged to have committed an illegal tip tackle during the 36-33 win that clinched Scotland's place in the last eight.

In his judgement, 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".

World Rugby said the English QC had "deemed the act of foul play merited a low-end entry point, namely four weeks" but had added one week in an attempt to deter this type of dangerous foul play.

Australia flanker David Pocock
Australia flanker David Pocock escaped with a warning after an incident against Wales

However, the suspensions had been reduced by two weeks because of the players' expressions of regret at the hearing, their "exemplary characters and excellent disciplinary records".

Hooker Ford and lock Gray will complete their suspensions at their clubs, Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors respectively, should Scotland exit the tournament before the final.

Scotland coach Nathan Hines had said earlier: "I didn't pick up on it. It was only until the citing commissioner picked up on it and issued his report."

The citing commissioner involved in the case is Australian and one journalist asked Hines whether he was concerned at that given Scotland face Australia at the weekend.

"He is neutral isn't he?" he said. "He's very professional. He's there to do a job and he thinks he's seen something.

"World Rugby put him there because they are happy with his neutrality."

Australian flanker David Pocock is clear to play in the last-eight match at Twickenham if he can overcome a calf injury.

He was given a warning for putting his knee into the midriff of Wales hooker Scott Baldwin during Saturday's Pool A decider.