International Rugby

Free Fall available for France after red card rescinded

World Rugby have rescinded the red card shown to France full-back Benjamin Fall in the second Test against New Zealand.

Fall was dismissed by referee Angus Gardner in the 12th minute of the All Blacks’ 26-13 victory on Saturday following a mid-air collision with Beauden Barrett.

However, an independent judicial committee cleared the Montpellier player of any wrongdoing, declaring Fall only “had his eyes on the ball” while challenging for possession.

“The judicial committee was satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that the referee’s decision to issue the red card was wrong,” the committee said in a statement. 

“In reaching that conclusion, it is important to record, that no criticism is made of the referee nor, in our opinion, would any be warranted.

“Unlike the referee, we had the benefit of all the video footage, which showed various angles of the incident. Unlike the referee, we had the luxury of time to deliberate and consider, in private, the incident. In contrast, the referee was required to make his decision in a matter of minutes in the full gaze of the public and without the benefit of all the relevant material.”

While Fall is free to feature for Les Bleus at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday, Barrett is set to miss the third Test due to concussion symptoms.

The New Zealand fly-half failed a head injury assessment following the incident and was replaced by Damian McKenzie, who kicked three conversions to help the home side wrap up the series with a game to spare. News wire is powered by opta

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