Rugby World Cup 2015: Michael Cheika feels for Ford & Gray

I feel for Scottish pair - Cheika
Rugby World Cup quarter-final: Australia v Scotland
Venue: Twickenham Dates: Sunday, 18 October
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Scotland, plus live text commentary on every match on the BBC Sport website.

Australia coach Michael Cheika has said he sympathises with banned Scottish pair Ross Ford and Jonny Gray who will miss the rest of the World Cup.

The forwards received three-week suspensions on Tuesday for dangerous tackles in Scotland's win over Samoa.

Cheika, whose side face the Scots in the last eight, said: "I haven't seen the incidents but I feel for them."

Ex-Wales international Jonathan Davies has described the tournament's disciplinary hearings as a "disgrace".

The dual-code international told Kicca.comexternal-link that smaller countries were "getting a walloping" from the independent citing commission.

What is the citing commission?
The team, representing 11 nations, comprises 11 citing commissioners, 10 judicial officers and four appeal officers. They preside over all disciplinary matters concerning on-field acts of foul play and any misconduct matters that might arise.

Davies's criticisms - and those of other former players - are in response to a number of seemingly inconsistent punishments.

Australia flanker Michael Hooper was banned for seven days following an aggressive clearout of England's Mike Brown - an offence that normally carries a minimum two-week ban.

Ireland's Sean O'Brien also received a one-week ban after admitting punching France's Pascal Pape in Sunday's Pool D game.

But Samoa's Alesana Tuilagi was banned for five weeks, later reduced to two on appeal, when his knee made contact with Harumichi Tatekawa against Japan.

And Fiji's wing Nemani Nadolo missed his country's match against Wales after receiving a two-week suspension for a tip tackle against Australia.

Davies said Tier 2 nations were being treated harshly, adding that the situation was becoming "a bit of a joke".

David Pocock
Australia's David Pocock was given a warning for putting his knee into the midriff of Wales hooker Scott Baldwin

"Is it because they haven't got the better lawyers?" he asked.

"It's an absolute disgrace and spoiling the World Cup. I don't know who the people are doing the citings but they need a little bit of empathy with the game because you just need consistency."

Former outside-half Davies, who won 37 caps for Wales, said the process was "turning into a farce" following Ford and Gray's three-week bans, although the players have 48 hours to appeal and Scottish Rugby is expected to issue a statement at 18:00 BST on Wednesday.

"If Scotland make the World Cup final, those players miss it," said Davies. "Let's have a little bit of common sense and be fair and honest with everyone."

Former Scotland prop Peter Wright has also asked for greater consistency from the independent citing commission, while ex-Scotland wing Kenny Logan described Ford and Gray's punishments as a "joke". external-link

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But Cheika did not believe smaller countries were being unfairly treated.

"I don't think that's the case," he told the Guardian. external-link

"It's just the way it is. Like a lot of things in rugby, it will be open to different interpretations and you have to roll with it and present the best case you can. You feel for the players."

In a statement, World Rugby said it was "satisfied that the fully independent disciplinary process is being fairly and consistently applied across the board at this Rugby World Cup".