Dane Haylett-Petty says Ireland are at fault not Israel Folau as Wallabies fullback cited over contact in the air

Alex Broun 18:22 24/06/2018
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Dane Haylett-Petty says Israel Folau is being unfairly penalised.

Wallabies winger Dane Haylett-Petty has weighed into the controversy over players in the air after Australian fullback Israel Folau was cited after the third Ireland test in Sydney.

Folau has been cited for a tackle in the air on Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony in the ninth minute, after he was sent to the sin bin during the match itself over a similar contest in the 31st minute.

However the Rebels utility believes that the fault was not with Folau but Irish lifter CJ Stander, who failed to support his skipper adequately.

“Being a player that’s often in the air, you want to be protecting the players,” said Haylett-Petty, “but I felt like last night that one-man lift, they’re obviously putting their own player in danger there.”

“Any time there was any sort of contact in the air, he fell pretty badly. So, I feel like if anything we should be getting rid of that.”

The former Force flyer said the Wallabies were being unfairly scrutinized in this area of the game due to Folau’s aerial potency.

“I think obviously that’s a huge strength for us and they’re going to try and take that away from us,” Haylett-Petty said.

“I feel like the fans probably want to see 15 on 15 and a good battle and it was, it was a great Test series and obviously we don’t want to make any excuses.

“The Irish were really good and it could’ve gone either way in both those last two Test matches.”

Folau was cited for ‘placing his left hand on O’Mahony’s chest’, an action that “pulls O’Mahony over and he topples to the ground,” according to citing commissioner Michael O’Leary.

Because he received a yellow card during the match, Folau will now have to front a disciplinary hearing, which could see him scrubbed out of NSW’s crucial clash with (ironically) the Rebels this weekend.

This could cause more headaches for the Waratahs, with captain Michael Hooper also set to miss the match with the hamstring strain that saw him exit the Ireland test after just 16 minutes.

The Folau saga adds further fuel to the debate around players in the air with the All Blacks and France series also marred by an overturned red card to Les Bleus fullback Benjamin Fall in the second Test.

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