Fall was ordered off the field under Law 9.17 for “tackling, charging, pulling, pushing or grasping an opponent whose feet were off the ground”.
Having conducted a detailed review of all the evidence available, the Independent Judicial Committee appointed by World Rugby dismissed the red card issued by the referee.
The Independent Judicial Committee found:
“As demonstrated in the video footage, the Player, at all times, had his eyes on the ball whilst 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. From the moment the ball leaves France #10’s [Anthony Belleau] boot the Player is observed running a line at pace to a position which he believes will put him in the best possible position to catch it. The line that the Player is running is then altered by his collision with NZ #13 [Anton Lienert-Brown].
“This collision then causes the Player to lose his balance, stumble and be propelled or pushed towards the path of NZ #10 [Beauden Barrett]. By reason of those matters the Player’s attempt to contest the ball was compromised. In our opinion, the direct and proximate cause for that outcome was the result of the Player’s collision with NZ #13. As a result of his collision with NZ #13 the Player was denied the time (less than 1 second) and the space to put himself in a position to avoid a collision with NZ #10 or to contest the ball as he had initially planned.
“We did not consider that the Player would have foreseen the events, which ultimately unfolded, and therefore could not have, in our opinion, given the speed of the events and the dynamics at play, taken any preventative steps to avoid the collision with NZ #10 or to have put himself in a position to contest the ball as he had initially planned.
“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.
The series will conclude Saturday at Dundedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium, where Fall will be free to play.
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