SYDNEY – Wallaby and Waratahs fullback Israel Folau has been handed a one-match ban by World Rugby for aerial challenges during the national team’s defeat by Ireland last Saturday, although Rugby Australia are set to appeal the decision.
Folau was given a yellow card and then a warning from a citing commissioner after he was deemed to commit two dangerous aerial challenges during Australia’s 20-16 third Test loss to Ireland, leading to a disciplinary hearing with World Rugby.
“A World Rugby judicial panel has handed Wallabies fullback Israel Folau a one-match suspension at a hearing in Sydney tonight,” the sport’s national governing body said.
“Folau will appeal the decision, however if the suspension is upheld on appeal the 29-year-old will miss Friday night’s top-of-the-table Australian Conference clash with the Melbourne Rebels,” it said in a statement.
Waratahs head coach Daryl Gibson, who named Folau in his squad to face the Rebels despite the hearing, believes that if the ban is not lifted, then there will be widespread discussion over the regulations implemented by World Rugby.
“I believe if he does get some time, there’s some real implications around the law-making process going forward,” Gibson told Rugby Australia’s website.
“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.”
Southern hemisphere rugby coaches had previously expressed annoyance at some of the disciplinary decisions made during the June internationals and said the sport was in danger of becoming a “nanny state” if the rules are not addressed.