Benjamin Fall’s red card, which he received during the second Test against the All Blacks on Saturday, has been cancelled by an independent judicial committee.
Fall collided with Beauden Barrett in the air in the 11th minute of the match, which the All Blacks went on to win 26-13. Referee Angus Gardener sent the fullback off after consulting with the TMO.
However, a judicial committee has opted to expunge the red card from Fall’s record, stating that he intended to contest the ball and was put off by a slight nudge from All Blacks centre Anton Lienert-Brown.
‘Having conducted a detailed review of all the evidence available, including all video footage and additional evidence from the player and submissions from his legal representative Aaron Lloyd, the independent judicial committee dismissed the red card issued by the referee,’ the statement read.
‘Video footage showed Fall at all times had his eyes on the ball while it was in the air, which showed, in our opinion, a clear intention, on the part of the player, that he intended to contest it
‘The line that Fall is running is then altered by his collision with New Zealand No 13 [Lienert-Brown]. This collision then causes him to lose his balance, stumble and be propelled or pushed towards the path of New Zealand No 10 [Barrett]. By reason of those matters Fall’s attempt to contest the ball was compromised.’
The judicial committee said criticism of the referee was unwarranted.
‘Unlike the referee, we had the benefit of all the video footage, which showed various angles of the incident,’ the statement said. ‘Unlike the referee, we had the luxury of time to deliberate and consider, in private, the incident.
‘Accordingly, the red card is dismissed and Fall is free to resume playing rugby immediately. We direct World Rugby to expunge the ordering off [red card] from the player’s disciplinary record.’
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