Israel Folau gets 1-match ban for contact, will appeal

June 27, 2018
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Australian rugby union player Israel Folau arrives at Rugby Australia headquarters in Sydney, Australia Wednesday, June 27, 2018. Folau faces a judicial hearing for making contact in the air with Irish captain Peter O'Mahony during Saturday's test. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

SYDNEY (AP) — Australia fullback Israel Folau has been banned for one match for his contact in the air with Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony during Saturday’s third rugby test in Sydney.

The ban announced Wednesday following a judicial hearing means Folau, who plays for the New South Wales Waratahs, will miss Friday’s Super Rugby match against Melbourne.

Rugby Australia said later that Folau will appeal the decision.

Folau was yellow-carded and subsequently given a citing commissioner’s warning over two aerial contests after O’Mahony, who was lifted by a teammate, landed awkwardly.

The citing commissioner, New Zealand’s Michael O’Leary, said Folau had “placed his left hand on O’Mahony’s chest,” which had pulled the flanker “over and he toppled to the ground.”

Earlier Wednesday, Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said the outcome of the hearing might have implications for the aerial contest in rugby.

Gibson said the rules might need to be changed if Folau was banned.

“I believe if he does get some time, there’s some real implications around the law-making process going forward,” Gibson said. “It really makes us look at the kick contest area and exactly how we can provide a law that provides for what is happening in terms of the collisions and guys landing on their heads.”

Ireland clinched the three-match series with a 20-16 win Saturday.