Richie Gray will miss Scotland v Argentina after being suspended for an act of foul play

Richie Gray will not be available for Scotland's match against Argentina on Saturday after he was handed a three-week suspension for an incident in the New Zealand defeat last Sunday.

Richie Gray was cited for an incident in the Scotland v New Zealand game. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Richie Gray was cited for an incident in the Scotland v New Zealand game. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

The second row forward can reduce the ban from three weeks to two if he attends a coaching intervention programme but he will still miss this weekend’s match at Murrayfield and Glasgow Warriors’ game against Leinster on November 26.

An independent judicial committee found that, on the balance of probabilities, Gray had committed an act of foul play because he “led with his elbow into the tackle area which was dangerous to others”. In delivering its verdict, the committee said that “there was contact with the head, the player had acted recklessly, there was a high degree of danger and there was no mitigation”.

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The starting point for such an offence is a six-week suspension but this was reduced to three due to mitigating factors, including Gray’s excellent disciplinary record. If he takes part in the coaching intervention programme aimed at “modifying specific techniques and technical issues that contributed to the foul play” he will have another week taken off the ban and be available for Glasgow’s match against Zebre on December 3.

The player appeared before the committee via video link having been cited after the All Blacks game. The initial charge was for an act of foul play contrary to Law No 9.20(a), “Dangerous play in a ruck or maul. A player must not charge into a ruck or maul”.

The committee considered and accepted submissions from the player’s representative that the charge be amended to Law 9.11, “Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others including leading with the elbow or forearm”.

Gray denied that he had committed an act of foul play worthy of a red card but the committee, chaired by Shao-ing Wang (Singapore), and also including former international Stefan Terblanche (South Africa) and former international referee Juan-Pablo Spirandelli (Argentina), concluded there had been foul play.

Gray has the right to appeal the ban within 48 hours of the issuing of the full written decision.

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