Woodward slams harsh World Cup judiciary

Sir Clive Woodward believes judiciary over-reaction is marring the Rugby World Cup.

England’s 2003 World Cup-winning coach took to Twitter to vent his frustrations, saying the tribunal has come down too hard on some players.

He didn’t specify who he was referring to, but Woodward’s post on Thursday came in the wake of key Scottish forwards Ross Ford and Jonny Gray copping tournament-ending three-week bans for a seemingly innocuous two-man tip tackle on Samoa flanker Jack Lam.

“RWC is scoring massive own goal over suspensions. It is a World Cup! and maximum 1 match is plenty unless a v bad red card incident,” Woodward tweeted.

Ford and Gray will miss Scotland’s quarter-final against Australia on Sunday (Monday AEDT) – and any match beyond if they win.

The pair got some sympathy from Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, who noted his team lost vice-captain Michael Hooper to suspension for the final pool game against Wales which he’d hoped to play in front of his grandparents, who’d flown over for the occasion.

Cheika, though, said the players should have been well aware the tournament was cracking down on potentially dangerous play.

“It’s a shame for them. But we’ve been told about all that stuff way back and we’ve all felt a bit of pain around that,” he said.

“Hoops got cited last week. We’ve known about it since Rugby Championships, where the focus points were.

“Neck roll, tip tackle, challenges in the air – it’s there.

“We didn’t complain about it when Hoops got suspended.

“I don’t think they are (complaining) either, it’s just the way it is.”

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