SYDNEY - Star Wallabies fullback Israel Folau lost his appeal against a one-match ban on Thursday in the aftermath of a contentious final Test with Ireland last weekend. Folau faced a World Rugby judiciary hearing Wednesday after being yellow carded and then cited for a second incident under the high ball in Australia's 20-16 loss to the Irish in Sydney on Saturday.
An appeals tribunal subsequently upheld Folau's ban and he will miss the NSW Waratahs' Super Rugby clash with the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday. Before the ban was handed down, Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said he feared rugby was in danger of legislating the aerial contest into oblivion if the suspension was allowed to stand.
The ban came as a result of Folau's involvement in an aerial contest for possession with Peter O'Mahony from a restart in the ninth minute of the final Irish Test. Folau won the ball, but it was ruled at the judicial hearing that he made dangerous contact with the Irish skipper, who was forced from the field after crashing heavily to the ground.
Prior to the hearing, Gibson told reporters: "It really makes us look at the kick contest area and exactly how we can, if it goes this way, how we can provide a law that covers or provides for what is happening in terms of the collisions and guys landing on their heads."
Folau is an attacking threat from kick-offs given his athletic leaping ability. The Wallabies and Waratahs often kick short and high to give him a strong chance of catching or tapping back the ball from restarts, regaining valuable possession.