Folau could miss NSW Waratahs crunch match

Darren Walton
Israel Folau and Peter O'Mahony contest the ball during the 3rd Test between Australia and Ireland

The NSW Waratahs could also suffer as the fallout continues from the Wallabies' gut-wrenching series loss to Ireland.

Champion fullback Israel Folau risks being suspended during the Waratahs' run to the Super Rugby finals after being asked to face a disciplinary hearing following the Wallabies' controversial 20-16 loss in Saturday night's third-Test decider in Sydney.

After being sin-binned in the 31st minute for unnecessary contact on Ireland captain Peter O'Mahony, Folau on Sunday received a warning over a second, earlier incident involving an aerial contest with O'Mahony.

New Zealand citing commissioner Michael O'Leary deemed Folau also sent O'Mahony "toppling to the ground" in another mid-air challenge in the ninth minute at Allianz Stadium.

The citing commissioner picked up Folau for "placing his left hand on O'Mahony's chest" after contesting a high ball at a restart.

The flanker was being lifted by Irish teammate CJ Stander at the time, with O'Leary determining Folau's conduct was "strikingly similar" to the yellow-card offence later in the half.

Because the warning came after Folau was also sin-binned, a disciplinary hearing is required to consider his case under World Rugby's regulation 17.

No date for the hearing has been set.

But SANZAR has revealed any potential ban for Folau would apply "across all forms of rugby", leaving the three-times John Eales Medallist in danger of being suspended from the Waratahs' critical Super Rugby conference derby with the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday night.

And possibly longer if Folau is found guilty at the hearing being convened by Singaporean judicial officer Shao Wang.

Frustrated Wallabies coach Michael Cheika was asked post-match if World Rugby needed to clarify rules around aerial challenges in light of French fullback Benjamin Fall being sent off by Australian referee Angus Gardner last week against New Zealand only for the red card to be retrospectively cancelled by the governing body.

"The key word these days is 'clear' and 'obvious', isn't it? I don't know anything that's clear and obvious in a game of footy. Nothing, right? But they run with it," Cheika said.

"Look at Angus last week. I really felt for him. He made the decision based on rules that they give him and then they left him out (to hang). Took away the red card, basically said 'you made the wrong call'.

"So I'm not sure how you can clarify it any more or clarify it any less, to be honest."

Cheika received support from All Blacks coach Ian Hansen, who agreed that World Rugby needed to remove inconsistencies around how laws are being interpreted in increasingly fast-paced games of international rugby. In addition to Folau's fate being in the hands of the judiciary, Waratahs and Wallabies captain Michael Hooper is also in doubt for Friday's crunch match with the Rebels after limping off with a hamstring in the loss to Ireland.

Hooper was sent for scans on Sunday.