Scotland have poured cold water on claims an Australian citing commissioner was acting with patriotic intentions when his call led to the Rugby World Cup suspensions of two of their best forwards.
Scott Nowland, the Australian representative on World Rugby’s citing commission, found fault with a two-man tip tackle by hooker Ross Ford and lock Jonny Gray on Samoa’s Jack Lam in Scotland’s pool win last weekend.
The pair went before the judiciary on Tuesday and were hit with tournament-ending three-week bans following a marathon 10-hour hearing.
Australia face Scotland at Twickenham on Sunday (Monday 0200AEDT), a point not missed by former Scotland halfback Andy Nicol who questioned Nowland’s integrity.
“Love the bit that Gray/Ford cited by ‘independent’ citing officer who comes from Australia!” Nicol wrote on Twitter.
“Who do we play on sun??”
But the issue didn’t resonate with Scotland resource coach Nathan Hines – from the NSW town of Wagga Wagga – who chose to not add fuel to the fire.
“He is neutral, isn’t he? He’s a professional,” Hines, who played 77 Tests for the Scots, said.
“They are there to do a job. He thinks he has seen something.
“World Rugby have put him there because they are happy with his neutrality.
“That’s for them to sort out and not us.”
Regardless, Scotland remained shattered at the news two of their best forwards would be unavailable to take on the Wallabies.
A spokesman for the national team said they were “disappointed” by Judicial Officer Christopher Quinlan QC’s decision, adding: “We will consider carefully the full written judgment before making a decision on any future action.”
They have 48 hours to appeal.