‘Nanny state’ criticism over Wallabies Folau citing
RUGBY will have turned into a "nanny state" if Israel Folau is suspended for challenging a high ball against Ireland, according to NSW Waratahs assistant coach Simon Cron.
Folau could miss Friday night's crucial Super Rugby match against the Melbourne Rebels depending on the outcome of a World Rugby disciplinary hearing over an incident early in Australia's narrow third Test defeat to Ireland.
Cron said he would be "stunned" if Folau was sanctioned for his aerial clash with Irish captain Peter O'Mahony, suggesting it was World Rugby who needed to reacquaint themselves with their own rules.
If, indeed, Folau is suspended it would be a major blow for the Waratahs, who will be without their captain Michael Hooper for the next four weeks after the work horse back-rower limped off during the Wallabies' 20-16 series defeat to Ireland with a hamstring injury.
The absence of the star duo would be a crushing blow to the Waratahs' hopes of topping the Australian conference.
The duo finished in the top four for minutes played during last year's Super Rugby regular season and Hooper has missed just 53 minutes of action in 93 matches since joining the Waratahs in 2013.
Folau leapt into the air in an attempt to beat O'Mahony to the ball following a kick-off.
O'Mahony was being lifted by teammate CJ Stander and was sent tumbling to the ground when the Wallabies fullback made contact with him.
World Rugby described it as "strikingly similar" to the collision between the pair that occurred in the 31st minute, which Folau was yellow-carded for, but both incidents incensed Wallabies coach Michael Cheika and puzzled many observers.
"Personally, I think it's an interesting decision to even send him there," Cron said on Monday.
"I would think (Ireland would) look at their one-man lifting technique. I know, we do a lot of it.
"I'd be surprised. It'd be a bit of a nanny state if they pull him."
Cron may have a point. Stander was holding O'Mahony at a 45-degree angle in his first tangle with Folau, who comfortably won possession for his team.
Cron said the game had to be played the way it was "designed" to be played.
"My understanding of the law is that when you're both competing for the ball, you're both competing for the ball," Cron said.
"The only way around that is maybe we change the sport and say you're not allowed to leave the ground and turn it into under-12s. I'm not sure.
"We've had presentation after presentation We've had (referee) Angus Gardner in here and he's shown us video of what goes, what doesn't.
"We're really clear on what we think you're allowed to do and not allowed to do. And it states it in the law. So I'd be surprised if it changes.
"I think they just need to revisit it themselves, probably."
A time for the hearing under judicial officer Shao Wang of Singapore is yet to be confirmed but it is likely to be held on Tuesday.