Nathan Hines plays down Ford and Gray tackle probe

Ross Ford, right, and team-mate Jonny Gray face a sweat over the tackles. Picture: Getty

Ross Ford, right, and team-mate Jonny Gray face a sweat over the tackles. Picture: Getty

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SCOTLAND assistant coach Nathan Hines insists he has no problem with World Rugby selecting an Australian citing commissioner to run the rule over his players just days before they face the Wallabies.

Forwards Ross Ford and Jonny Gray could both miss this Sunday’s World Cup quarter-final clash with Australia after being charged with committing a dangerous tackle during last weekend’s final Pool B clash with Samoa.

World Rugby have put him there because they are happy with his neutrality. That’s for them to sort out and not us

Nathan Hines

Independent Citing Commissioner Scott Nowland was the man who took the decision to haul the Dark Blues pair before a World Rugby disciplinary hearing in London on Tuesday morning.

But that raised eyebrows from Scottish supporters, who fear Nowland may be doing his countrymen a favour before the crucial last-eight clash at Twickenham.

Former Scotland scrum-half Andy Nicol tweeted after the citing decision was announced on Monday: “Love the bit that Gray/Ford cited by ‘independent’ citing officer who comes from Australia! Who do we play on sun??”

READ MORE - Scotland to face Australia with a clean bill of health

But asked if he was worried about the part played by the Aussie commissioner, Dark Blues coach Hines - a former Scotland international who was himself born Down Under - said: “It’s not my concern, it’s World Rugby’s.

“He’s the citing commissioner. He saw something, put his report in, and now we wait and see what happens.

“He is neutral, isn’t he? He’s a professional. 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.”

READ MORE - Rugby World Cup: Scotland duo could miss Australia tie

But Scotland wing Tommy Seymour admits it would be a blow if the pair were ruled out for their two-man tip tackle on Jack Lam, which saw the Samoan flanker land on his head.

“I hope we get the outcome that Fordy and Jonny want,” said the Glasgow flyer. “To have them banned is not something that we want. They are both valuable members of this 31-man squad.

“We don’t want to lose any players to anything, so obviously we will hope for the best.

“If it does happen, we have ample guys to step up.”

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