Ford and Gray ban angers Josh Strauss

Ross Ford, pictured above has been banned for three weeks along with Jonny Gray
Ross Ford, pictured above has been banned for three weeks along with Jonny Gray
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Fired-up Scotland forward Josh Strauss has vowed to beat Australia in tribute to banned team-mates Ross Ford and Jonny Gray.

The Dark Blues pair were rocked by the news on Tuesday night that their World Cup was over after receiving three-week bans for their illegal two-man tip-tackle on Samoa’s Jack Lam.

Despite being told their offence was at the “lower end” of the disciplinary scale, they will now miss Sunday’s quarter-final clash with the Wallabies and the rest of the tournament should Scotland win.

The Scots are considering an appeal but it remains unlikely that Edinburgh hooker Ford nor Glasgow lock Gray will feature again at England 2015.

Strauss certainly feels his colleagues were treated harshly and has vowed to take out his frustration on the Aussies at Twickenham.

He said: “We are all very disappointed for Ross and Jonny. Being a close group of lads we know each other very well and these are two very determined guys.

“It was a tough call; we feel it was tough on them. When I heard it myself, and I can only speak for myself, I was angry.

“It was more for them. I can imagine myself in their shoes and how I would feel if it was me.

“But personally that is good for me. It motivates me. I want to put in a performance for them if I’m selected. I want to make them proud because they have made all of us proud.

“We have achieved so much as a group together and we are not going to let anything stand in our way.”

Ironically, Strauss could actually benefit from the decision to suspend Gray.

With only Tim Swinson as recognised second-row cover, number eight David Denton may be asked to step up to provide back-up at lock, leaving his back-row slot free for Strauss.

But whoever head coach Vern Cotter decides to pick, Strauss insists the players will not be distracted by the disappointment of seeing their 
team-mates ruled out of the tournament.

The 28-year-old Glasgow man said: “As their friend, I feel it was quite a harsh decision. I feel for them.

“But we took the disappointment last night. Rugby is an environment of adversity and we have all experienced enough things and dealt with them in the past so this will just make us stronger as a group.”