RWC 2015: Scotland's Ford & Gray have bans overturned

Scotland players Ross Ford, Jonny Gray and Richie Gray in action against Samoa
Ross Ford and Jonny Gray were facing three-week bans
Rugby World Cup quarter-final: Australia v Scotland
Date: Sunday, 18 October Venue: Twickenham, London Kick-off: 16:00 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland & 5live; live text coverage on BBC Sport website

Scotland hooker Ross Ford and lock Jonny Gray are free to play with immediate effect after appeals against three-week suspensions were upheld.

Both were left out of the team for Sunday's World Cup quarter-final with Australia but Vern Cotter can alter his side up until an hour before kick-off.

Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson said "justice has been done".

"Ross and Jonny are now free to re-join the tournament, ahead of the biggest game for Scottish Rugby in recent years," he added.

"We find it hugely disappointing they were put in this position by a judicial process, which is inconsistent and unfair. Justice delayed is justice denied.

"It is regrettable that this has overshadowed a massive week for the sport and our focus continues to be on the match against Australia."

The appeals were formally lodged on Friday and heard on Saturday by a committee chaired by Justice Lex Mpati, from South Africa, sitting with Justice Graeme Mew from Canada and Robbie Deans from New Zealand.

BBC Scotland's Tom English:
"For Jonny Gray and Ross Ford, the suddenly liberated Newcastle Two, there would have been a mixture of shock and elation - mostly elation. For Tim Swinson and Fraser Brown, selected at lock and at hooker in the absence of the banned duo, there would have been shock and confusion as to what this now meant to their prospects of staying in the team to play Australia in the World Cup quarter-final on Sunday"

Scottish Rugby challenged the length of ban, not the guilty verdict.

And, a statement on the Rugby World Cup websiteexternal-link read: "Having conducted a detailed review of all the evidence, including new submissions from the players and their representatives, along with all available camera angles, 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.

"The players are therefore free to play again immediately."

Australian citing commissioner Scott Nowland charged Edinburgh's Ford of breaching rules on dangerous tackles.

Glasgow Warriors' Gray, meanwhile, was alleged to have committed an illegal tip tackle during the win that clinched Scotland's place in the last eight.

Both players denied committing an act of foul play.

A tweet by World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper
World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper has responded to criticism of citing decisions
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